Getting Rid of the ‘R-Word’

IMG_9955By Sarah Gray Isenberg,

JSerra students sign a pledge to eliminate the use of “retard” to describe the handicapped with help of Nick Brady, the school’s only autistic student.

Nick Brady stood smiling and laughing with his friends Friday while demonstrators flocked around him, pledging not to use the word “retard” when speaking of disabled persons.

Brady, a freshman at JSerra Catholic High School and the school’s only autistic student, started the Autism Awareness Club and helped organize “Pledge to Stop the R-Word.”

Brady’s mother, Nancy, who was also in attendance, said her son was diagnosed with autism at 2 1/2 years old.

The freshman, who has trouble speaking with ease, became well-known after making a video protesting the stereotypes associated with autism by typing into a computer to communicate his innermost thoughts and emotions.

Students and faculty gathered in numbers around the table Friday to sign the pledge poster and buy $1 wristbands saying, “Spread the Word to End the Word.”

Friendly with just about everyone, nobody would know her son was struggling, Nancy Brady said.

“There’s a loving, caring person inside of Nick,” she said. “He’s just learning how to show it.”

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