Do you want to make your church both disability and autism friendly? Here is a simple but difficult step to take.
STOP USING THE WORD RETARDED.
Yes, I realize that ‘retard’ has entered the English language as a common way to describe something that you think is unwise. Even pastors will make statements about something that looks foolish by saying, “that is so retarded.” I am sure that each Sunday, such phrases are used very often in churches by all sorts of people.
I also understand that most people do not mean it as a slur against people with disabilities.
But let me share my perspective as a father of two children who have been diagnosed with a global developmental delay (the current term for mental retardation). When I hear someone being described as a retard or as being retarded, what I hear is that this person is so stupid, they are as bad as Logan and Abby (yes, they do have names).
I do not say anything when I hear it, as people are free to say what they want. But if you want your church to be sensitive to disabilities, it may be time to do some teaching.
When I have talked about this before, I have been accused of promoting political correctness. I am far from being politically correct. The only agenda I have is basic respect for people who often do not have the opportunities to speak up for themselves.
If you want to call people retards, go ahead. But don’t pretend that you care about people with developmental disabilities.