KU News Release

March 5, 2012
Contact: Karen Henry, KU Life Span Institute, 785-864-0756

Media advisory: KU special education professor available to speak on ending the 'R-word'

More Information

LAWRENCE — H.R. “Rud” Turnbull, an international authority on disability, is available to speak to the media about ending the use of the term “retard” and the impact it has on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and society.
March 7 is the third annual observance of the Spread the Word to End the Word awareness movement that encourages people to pledge to stop using the “R-word” to promote respect and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities.
“Spread the Word to End the Word” was created by youth with and without intellectual disabilities who participated in the Special Olympics Global Youth Activation Summit at the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, according to the Special Olympics website.
Turnbull, the co-director of the Beach Center on Disability, and the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor, helped draft the regulations for the1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and has testified before Congress a dozen times. Among his many honors, he was recognized along with his wife, Ann, as two of the 36 leaders who “changed the course of history” for people with intellectual disabilities.
He was also the father of a son with multiple intellectual disabilities, Jay, a University of Kansas employee, who died of natural causes Jan. 7, 2009, and inspired Turnbull’s 2011 account, "The Exceptional Life of Jay Turnbull: Disability and Dignity in America 1967-2009."
To schedule an interview, contact Karen Henry at 785-864-0756 or Jill Jess at 785-864-8858.

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