People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) still face exclusion, social isolation, and social abuse in schools, workplaces, and communities. This prevents us from building truly inclusive societal structures, where we can learn and grow together.
To drive change and help create a more inclusive society, Spread the Word to End the Word was founded in 2009 by college students Soeren Palumbo (Notre Dame 2011) and Tim Shriver (Yale 2011).
Spread the Word Inclusion is led and continuously re-imagined by our youth activists. Their efforts are designed to rally schools, organizations, and communities to commit to the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Going All In(clusive)
As we head into 2023, our continuing mission with Spread the Word is blessed with an opportunity we have not had in three years: We can stop and take a breath. We can assess where we’ve been and be deliberate about where we go next.
The thematic for 2023 is Going All In(clusive): This thematic is action-oriented—a motivational rallying cry that doubles down on the belief that everyone is the goal of our efforts. We are calling on our youth, our Special Olympics athletes and ambassadors to share their stories of courage, dedication, and engagement for inclusion. There are encouraged to share when the last time was that they went all in(clusive)—totally committed to something, bet everything on a hand, stood up for something they believed in. In a call to action, each individual message is encouraged to end with a personal commitment on how they plan to “go all in” to take their own action for inclusion.
Going all in(clusive) also means speaking up against the wrong and demeaning use of the R-word in conversations. It is part of an education effort that showcases that language informs attitudes and attitudes impact actions.
In 2023, the annual day of awareness is held on March 1, 2023. While most activities are centered on or near that awareness day in March, people everywhere are encouraged to spread the word throughout their communities and schools throughout the year through pledge drives, youth rallies and online activation.