The Language Project

The Language Project: WORDS HURT, The R word does not equal stupid

BC People First and People First of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, is offering FREE workshops about language and the ‘R word’ to geared to students in grades 5 and up, groups such as scouting/guides and college programs across BC. It can also be offered to teachers as part of Professional Development programs, and employees who work in the Diversability sector. 

WE STILL HEAR THIS WORD! Words and language have a profound effect on people. People with intellectual disabilities of all kinds – autism, Down syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Disorder, and learning disabilities to name a few – have all faced discrimination of some kind or another. They have been labeled and called names. We still hear this word being used in music videos, YouTube, Facebook, at sporting events, almost everywhere. Teachers and parents may not always be hearing this word, but the presenter of this workshop is. Kids may know not to use the R-word in front of adults because they have been told it is inappropriate but many are still using the R-word and not fully understanding the hurt this word causes. This Workshop is intended to help people understand the importance and impact of their words on fellow students, neighbours, uncles/aunts, friends, cousins, sisters/brothers etc with intellectual disabilities. Words hurt.
The workshops are delivered by people who have been labeled with an intellectual disability along with support of an advisor. They have lived with hearing and being harmed by this word. This makes for a powerful presentation that puts a face behind the reality of the hurt that this word causes. The workshop teaches students about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and discusses the importance of language.

The workshop also explores civil rights movements and also looks at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Students will learn about disability and:

  • The right to education
  • The right to employment
  • The right to be included in the community, and
  • The importance of language.


Please contact BC People First to request a workshop in your school or for your group (Leadership Groups, Girls Guides of Canada/Scouts of Canada, Support worker programs, professional development etc). This is excellent curriculum supporting material for anti-bullying awareness. Workshops are delivered free of cost!

If you have further questions about this workshop or to book CONTACT US!     Ariel Pavic, Provincial Coordinator: 604-786-9642