Erasing the "R" Word - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Erasing the "R" Word

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The R Word.

It's a word many people find hurtful, and this weekend people fight to eliminate it.

"I'm Krystina DeCoteau and I love to sing." says self-advocate Kristina DeCouteau.

"She absolutely loves dance. She loves music. Anytime we put on our favorite song, she'll just boogie around the basement just trying to sing," says Alicia Overbeck, whose daughter has a disability.

Both of these women have first-hand experience with a disability, but neither of them use labels.

They are trying to keep others from using them, as well.

Self-advocates and allies gather at Hit, Inc. today to "Spread the Word to End the Word."

Their focus is to eliminate the R word and promote people-first language.

Mother Alicia Overbeck says it's not her daughter's disability that defines her...

"It's not who someone is. And it is such a negative word. We've used it for years and there is no positive related to it. And so, just to help people understand-- we need to focus on ability and what people can do, and those highlights and what makes a person special, rather than using words like the R word to describe them," says Overbeck."

In 2011, the "r" word was stricken from the North Dakota century code.

Senate Bill 2142 amended and reenacted all sections of the state code, replacing it with the term "intellectual disability."

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