The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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How I Feel About the R Word and Others
How I Feel About the R Word and Others

I have Down syndrome and this is my great story. My name is Olivia Rachelle Brosseau and I am nineteen years old. I live in a small town named Glover, Vermont. Last year I graduated high school from Lake Region union high school in Barton, Vermont. If I could tell you one thing about myself it would be that I am human and I should feel loved and treated as an equal human being. I’m making a name out for myself. I’m making a difference in the lives of many people. I am blessed to have an extra chromosome; god put that in me and I love it. I’m not letting the doctors and the people who have doubts about Down syndrome get to me; I’m having the last laugh, I have accomplished so much throughout my life. I’m not letting them put doubts and limits on me, that don’t work for people. I’m in college in Community College of Vermont in Newport, Vermont and I am working to get my degree in human services. So I can help people with disabilities, I’m going to have a conference center in my future house so I can teach people with disabilities basic life skills. I will have a parent support group and student support group, so they can express their concerns and problems and I will help them with guidance and support and I will get them resources as well. In a few months later in the future, I will have a toddler and baby playgroup and support system, and it would be integrated as well with kids with no disabilities. This is my dream. As well spread awareness of Down syndrome and the misuse of the “r word,” which is retard or retarded. I hate those words, and I take immense offense to it. I see it every day and hear it and I break down and cry. Those words describe so many people that I care about and love, it has to stop. For centuries after centuries and decades after decades, people have said the r word and it has to end right now. At the end of junior year and the beginning of senior year, everybody at my high school was saying the r word, in front of me , it wasn’t direct , but indirect hurts a lot too, it’s like a sucker punch to the stomach. People have to wake up and realize that we need to be treated the utmost respect. RESPECT – that’s the new r word. I don’t care if the r word is politically correct or not and using it the right way even hurts too. It doesn’t matter how you use it, it’s offensive, discriminatory, you’re talking about a person. What if you or someone you know, or a daughter or son, nephew, cousin, or niece have an disability and people come up to you and say the r word, how would you feel?

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Comments (1,000 character limit)

Nicole Briell, United States, IA
11/10/2014 12:39:44 PM
Thank you!!

melissa saw, Malaysia,
3/24/2014 8:36:22 PM
Olivia, i am so touch after hearing your story. I have a little boy, 15 months down syndrome boy, i was very depressed and worried about his furture. seriuosly i was not so optimistic before reading your story. Well done, you really enlighten me. thanks

Apikale, Fiji,
3/23/2014 10:41:24 PM
You go girl!!

Yvette Nelson, United States, PA
3/22/2014 10:44:29 PM
Olivia you are an phenomical young lady !!!! And TRULY blessed young Lady!!! And GOD will continue to give you ALL the glory!!!!! You are Encouraging !!! For those parents who struggle with finding out the diagnoses about An child!!! And as I grew up I would ask my father Why ! About people who were different and he Responded !!! Without different people in the world This world wouldn't go around!! ( always remember That you are doing 110% better then 99% of the Normal children growing up your age and you atleast Have all of the resorses to get ahead of them !!! ) You are an leader and !!! Please continue to keep your head !! UP!! For ever tear that falls an flower will grow!! God bless you !!

Eileen Borenstein, United States, PA
3/22/2014 8:34:38 AM
Thanks for writing and expressing my thoughts exactly. Please keep speaking out. I'm so excited about what you are going to continue to achieve. Keep it up---you'll be an inspiration! Eileen

Abd, Korea, Republic of,
3/21/2014 4:51:17 PM
What abutifaul story.Keep going to achieve your dream.I have my gift son who is 2 years.I see him more then normal ,all my family love him to much and treat him normally .Thoes DN don't need anything from us except RESPECT ,so let's give them that.

Anne McIntosh, Canada,
3/21/2014 12:17:43 PM
Beautiful young lady, this story warms my heart, hope it will change some peoples way of thinking.

rizana, Sri Lanka,
3/21/2014 11:40:05 AM
it really gives me inspiration to see that she is so spirited and keen in studies

Milagros Rivera, United States, NY
3/21/2014 11:34:53 AM
I read your article and I must say it touched me. I have twin girls and the younger one has Down Syndrome (trisomy 21). Hailey is 3 years old and goes to school and I've seen her come a very long way. Doctors would want me to abort because they would say she was going to be disabled. To tell you the truth, doctors are mentally challenged because they have no heart. I feel blessed to have Hailey in our lives. She is so smart, loving and little miss independent.

Jill Hoskins, United States, IA
3/21/2014 11:33:38 AM
What a beautiful girl and a wonderful story. I despise the R word too and hope through education, we can make people aware that it is a hurtful word!

Lisa Van Drese, United States, MI
2/3/2014 1:15:55 PM
Olivia is a terrific person. I met her through NDSS-DS Ambassador program, and she has turned it to a great friend. She has accomplished so much despite any challenges she may have faced. I am inspired by Olivia, because I have a son who has Ds and I want him to be every bit as proud of his extra chromosome as Olivia is.

delphine hnatowich, United States, MI
2/3/2014 11:37:08 AM

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