Since he was about a year old, Brooks Purdom had what seemed like a never-ending cough and runny nose. He was sick four or five times a month, rarely slept, visited countless doctors, took several medications and was eventually diagnosed with asthma and allergies.
The Special Olympics campaign, “Spread the Word to End the Word,” is raising awareness about why the offensive “R-word” should never be used.
The “R-word” is “retard/retarded.” These long outdated terms were previously used to refer to individuals with intellectual disabilities, and have evolved into derogatory slang terms.
Many children with special needs have endless doctors’ appointments, regular therapy sessions and a long list of medications. So it’s not unusual that dental health might become secondary. Depending on an individual disability or health problem, children with special needs often have unique dental health issues, which need special care.
Adam Zimmer has always been active and curious, loving to build with Legos and take things apart. He has also always struggled with reading, says his mom, Ashley Edwards.
“He always read slowly, but had phonetic skills so we wondered why he couldn’t read faster,” she explains.
Lucas Davis is a happy 3-year-old, who loves playing with cars and the “Toy Story” characters. His mom, Lacy Davis, describes him as happy, smart, funny and lovable.
Last summer, Lucas was diagnosed with autism, and, since June, has been attending Pathfinder in Jacksonville five days a week for occupational, speech and physical therapy, and preschool.