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Mentally disabled uncle


FI has an uncle, late 40s, who is mentally disabled and lives with FFIL. He isn't likely to come, but my instinct is that he is an adult member of that household and should get his own invitation.

Problem is FI doesn't really know him and doesn't talk to FFIL unless he absolutely has to, so I'm not exactly sure what his specific condition is. It sounds like Down Syndrome or something similar - basically a functioning adult, but not able to hold a job or live on his own. I don't even know if he can read, or if that even matters. Am I being patronizing assuming that he might enjoy getting mail addressed to him, filling out his RSVP himself or with help, etc? The whole point is I don't want to treat him like a child, but the previous sentence is exactly my logic for sending a separate invitation to my 12 year old sister. Also maybe it's just a hassle for everyone involved and I look like a jerk.

I know I'm overthinking this (my #1 hobby!) but humor me: based on the info I have, what would you do?

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Re: Mentally disabled uncle

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    Hi there!  I have worked with disabled adults since I was in highschool and have a degree in Special Education.  I know you meant no offense by it at all, but just FYI, the correct term is "Developmentally Disabled" (I know, I know, the PC term seems to change every other day).  If he does in fact have DS or is similarly effected, individualism and responsibility are very important to the person's sense of self.  I think this would be wonderfully thoughtful of you to send him his own.  I'm sure FFIL will be able to assist him with the RSVP if need be.  Truly, anyway he can be recognized as his own person, and as an adult is proper and beneficial (just like any other person for that matter). 
    Isn't that so damn frustrating? I'm glad you were nice about pointing it out though. Kudos!

    I am on the bandwagon for sending him his own invitation. It's what I would've done if my uncle were still alive - he had CP among other developmental delays.
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    I would send him his own invitation for reasons that others have already mentioned.

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    LyannaStarkLyannaStark member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper First Comment
    edited July 2013
    Hi there!  I have worked with disabled adults since I was in highschool and have a degree in Special Education.  I know you meant no offense by it at all, but just FYI, the correct term is "Developmentally Disabled" (I know, I know, the PC term seems to change every other day).  If he does in fact have DS or is similarly effected, individualism and responsibility are very important to the person's sense of self.  I think this would be wonderfully thoughtful of you to send him his own.  I'm sure FFIL will be able to assist him with the RSVP if need be.  Truly, anyway he can be recognized as his own person, and as an adult is proper and beneficial (just like any other person for that matter). 
    Ha, it's true, it's only been 10 or so years since I was in grad school, taking plenty of developmental psych classes for my linguistics degree, and as I typed that I really thought "I'm probably saying this wrong." (And for the record the linguist in me thinks "developmental" is a lot more appropriate semantically, especially since "mental" has taken on some unfortunate connotations in my lifetime, which, don't get me started on all that, good lord.)

    But yes, thank you both very much. I have this thing where I try so hard to be polite that I overthink it and end up being rude. Thanks for confirming this isn't one of those times!

    ETA: Thank you all very much. Slow typing and wine and bam, more people helping!
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    BMoreBride6BMoreBride6 member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited July 2013
    Hi there!  I have worked with disabled adults since I was in highschool and have a degree in Special Education.  I know you meant no offense by it at all, but just FYI, the correct term is "Developmentally Disabled" (I know, I know, the PC term seems to change every other day).  If he does in fact have DS or is similarly effected, individualism and responsibility are very important to the person's sense of self.  I think this would be wonderfully thoughtful of you to send him his own.  I'm sure FFIL will be able to assist him with the RSVP if need be.  Truly, anyway he can be recognized as his own person, and as an adult is proper and beneficial (just like any other person for that matter). 
    Ha, it's true, it's only been 10 or so years since I was in grad school, taking plenty of developmental psych classes for my linguistics degree, and as I typed that I really thought "I'm probably saying this wrong." (And for the record the linguist in me thinks "developmental" is a lot more appropriate semantically, especially since "mental" has taken on some unfortunate connotations in my lifetime, which, don't get me started on all that, good lord.)

    But yes, thank you both very much. I have this thing where I try so hard to be polite that I overthink it and end up being rude. Thanks for confirming this isn't one of those times!

    ETA: Thank you all very much. Slow typing and wine and bam, more people helping!
    I over think everything.  I hear ya!  Yes, mental disability is still a term but refers more to disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, even anxiety disorders, etc.  It's quite frustrating working in the field still because some of my students' parents prefer older terms while others prefer current...My intention is never to offend a child or parents!  It's just very hard to keep up.  
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    For purposes of invitations I'd treat the uncle the same as any other adult and send him his own invitation.
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    My FI has 2 disabled uncles. They have Autism, think what's eating gilbert grape. They live with their dad, FI's granddad. Sending them their own invitation would seem so strange in our families, not that I am against it, but they don't really speak, and have no concept of what an invitation even was.

    Of course they will be invited to the wedding, given meal choices etc. They also love beer haha! I guess it shouldn't matter what the mental disability is, and I am sure it is proper to send every adult an invite, however in my case, and maybe yours, not necessary.

    However, I think because you have questioned if you should or not, then you should!
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    edited July 2013
    My FI has 2 disabled uncles. They have Autism, think what's eating gilbert grape. They live with their dad, FI's granddad. Sending them their own invitation would seem so strange in our families, not that I am against it, but they don't really speak, and have no concept of what an invitation even was.

    Of course they will be invited to the wedding, given meal choices etc. They also love beer haha! I guess it shouldn't matter what the mental disability is, and I am sure it is proper to send every adult an invite, however in my case, and maybe yours, not necessary.

    However, I think because you have questioned if you should or not, then you should!
    Even if the sons wouldn't notice the separate invitation, their father will. It's respectful to HIM to treat them as you would any other adult. Send them their own invitations.
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    colexcolex member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    I have to throw my two cents in, the term is in constant debate between "Developmentally Disabled" and "Cognitively Impaired" depending on the researcher. More current researchers prefer the term "Cognitively Impaired" because it implies that there is something amiss in the brain whereas "Developmentally Disabled" implies that something adverse occurred during development.

    With that being said, sent him his own invite! Even if he is written in on FFIL's RSVP he will probably appreciate getting his own invititation.
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    I had an uncle with DS that lived with my family after my grandma passed and he would have gotten a kick out of getting his own invite.  Send him his own.
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    My daughter is non verbal and has autism if she were to get her own invite I'd side eye it. Because it would make me as her caregiver and mom feel bad. Its almost Like pointing it out that shes disabled. But it totally depends on the disability. They may like it.
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    My daughter is non verbal and has autism if she were to get her own invite I'd side eye it. Because it would make me as her caregiver and mom feel bad. Its almost Like pointing it out that shes disabled. But it totally depends on the disability. They may like it.
    I'm a little confused, why would you think sending her an invitation like any other guest point out that she's disabled?  Wouldn't NOT sending her an invitation (treating her differently than other guests) point out that she was different in some way?

    Or am I misunderstanding what your saying?
    Don't worry guys, I have the Wedding Police AND the Whambulance on speed dial!
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    No, you got it right. Its my personal feelings. I don't know why I feel the way I do. I feel sad giving it to her. Its hard for me to deal with emotionally sometimes. I'd just rather have an invitation with her name on mine. Since we are a package deal anyways.
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    No, you got it right. Its my personal feelings. I don't know why I feel the way I do. I feel sad giving it to her. Its hard for me to deal with emotionally sometimes. I'd just rather have an invitation with her name on mine. Since we are a package deal anyways.
    I can understand that, but the OP can't predict every guests' personal emotional response.  Treating the uncle just like any other guest, I still think, is the safest bet.  I mean that with the utmost respect.  
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    kipnuskipnus member
    First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary
    colex said:
    I have to throw my two cents in, the term is in constant debate between "Developmentally Disabled" and "Cognitively Impaired" depending on the researcher. More current researchers prefer the term "Cognitively Impaired" because it implies that there is something amiss in the brain whereas "Developmentally Disabled" implies that something adverse occurred during development.
    In Canada, it is considered most PC to use "person first" language, so we might refer to someone as a "person with a cognitive disability" or a "person with developmental delays." I'm sure this is becoming less and less common, but I was so shocked to hear my American friend talking about her "mentally retarded" son! I've never heard a Canadian, even those who aren't up on the latest terminology, use the term "retarded" in a disability context.
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    kipnus said:
    colex said:
    I have to throw my two cents in, the term is in constant debate between "Developmentally Disabled" and "Cognitively Impaired" depending on the researcher. More current researchers prefer the term "Cognitively Impaired" because it implies that there is something amiss in the brain whereas "Developmentally Disabled" implies that something adverse occurred during development.
    In Canada, it is considered most PC to use "person first" language, so we might refer to someone as a "person with a cognitive disability" or a "person with developmental delays." I'm sure this is becoming less and less common, but I was so shocked to hear my American friend talking about her "mentally retarded" son! I've never heard a Canadian, even those who aren't up on the latest terminology, use the term "retarded" in a disability context.
    This is true of the US too, its just that most aren't aware of that.  Again, I only know most of this because I took years of classes in it.  Last I heard, which was probably 2 years ago...it is most PC to use person first, with the exception of the Deaf community who in themselves, have decided they prefer to be called a "Deaf person".  Deafness is very different in that the Deaf community truly have a strong culture of their own.  
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    kipnus said:
    In Canada, it is considered most PC to use "person first" language, so we might refer to someone as a "person with a cognitive disability" or a "person with developmental delays." I'm sure this is becoming less and less common, but I was so shocked to hear my American friend talking about her "mentally retarded" son! I've never heard a Canadian, even those who aren't up on the latest terminology, use the term "retarded" in a disability context.
    I work in a state facility, the office is called "Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities"  Person first language is always what is most correct, however, it is not common.  And while it's not PC, many many doctors still use "retardation" as a medical diagnosis, though Intellectual Disability is what it's more often what it's called. I've found a lot of the older parents and family of clients still use the term loosely.   Though, an intellectual disability is only one kind of developmental disability, there are others, sometimes only physical,  that are included under that umbrella term.  
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    colexcolex member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    kipnus said:
    colex said:
    I have to throw my two cents in, the term is in constant debate between "Developmentally Disabled" and "Cognitively Impaired" depending on the researcher. More current researchers prefer the term "Cognitively Impaired" because it implies that there is something amiss in the brain whereas "Developmentally Disabled" implies that something adverse occurred during development.
    In Canada, it is considered most PC to use "person first" language, so we might refer to someone as a "person with a cognitive disability" or a "person with developmental delays." I'm sure this is becoming less and less common, but I was so shocked to hear my American friend talking about her "mentally retarded" son! I've never heard a Canadian, even those who aren't up on the latest terminology, use the term "retarded" in a disability context.
    "person first" language is definitely the most PC. I was just pointing out the difference in the terms. "Mentally retarded" carries a very heavy negative connotation but as a PP pointed out some doctors and health professionals do still use it as a diagnosis even though I don't think it is in the DSM V anymore, I could be wrong on that one though. The correct way to say either term would be either, "A person with cognitive impairment" or "a person with developmental delays" or some variation with the person coming before the disability.
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    I don't understand the last 2 posts can some please explain?
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    I don't understand the last 2 posts can some please explain?
    I assume you are referring to the term "person first language".  That means that when speaking of someone, who always refer to the person first and than the disability, ie. "he is a person with bipolar disorder" rather than using the disability first or in place of the person, i.e. "he is a bipolar man", or "he is bipolar."
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    Oh no. I mean the cognitive or develop mental delays. Is she saying you should refer to a specific one? Person first of coarse. Then which one would you pick? Is that only for people not on the spectrum? Because my daughter has both cognitive and devolpmental along with other delays challenges. . I say she is a person with autism. But I only say that because that's what I prefer. So if you don't know what sort of challenges the person faces how do you know what to say?
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    I think in terms of autism, it is still correct to say "my daughter with autism" which I know can mean a wide variety of things because of how vast the spectrum is.  A lot of teachers I have worked with and simply referred to someone as a "student on the spectrum".  In this case, she is your daughter and you know what feels the most correct/respectful 
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    Well I was using that as an example I was asking what you would do if the only term you knew was mentally retarded. Is she saying its a term not to use anymore because you have to be more specific?
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    Sorry I really am trying to understand because its crucial for me to be informed. I was told by a phsycologist there's a 70% chance my daughter is mentally retarded . Now I'm questioning if she's saying that's not a term anymore.
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    colexcolex member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    @GypsyBridetobe "cognitive impairment" took the place of "mentally retarded" in recent literature. Some professionals do still use the term regardless of the connotation attached to it. You can always ask your doctor to explain things to you more clearly or get a second opinion as well.

    I am not a medical professional but I do hold a masters degree in emotional disturbance--special education and teach in a lower grade self contained classroom. So I am not giving you medical advice just advice on terms and definitions.
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    Mentally retarded literally means "mentally slow". In music, the Italian term "ritard" means "slow", and "retarded" in English means "slow". Hence, mentally retarded = mentally slow. 

    Unfortunately, a lot of people started using "retarded" as an insult (I used to hear it on the playground all the time in the 80s), so the term has a lot of negative stigma attached to it. Now people tend to use something like "developmentally disabled" to avoid the connotation.
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    wrigleyvillewrigleyville member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    edited July 2013
    No, you got it right. Its my personal feelings. I don't know why I feel the way I do. I feel sad giving it to her. Its hard for me to deal with emotionally sometimes. I'd just rather have an invitation with her name on mine. Since we are a package deal anyways.
    Is she 18+? I know you think of you two as a package deal, and she probably feels the same, but maybe she'd appreciate getting her own invitation? I know she may not be able to reply to it, but are you sure having her own invitation to keep wouldn't make her happy? (I'm just asking, not accusing or assuming.) If she's over 18, maybe she'd appreciate that someone is treating her like an independent adult? Or is it too bittersweet for her since you have to handle her correspondence?

    I'm sorry if this is too personal.
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    No she's 4. We don't know if she will overcome challenges she faces or not. But I think how its going to be when she's older everyday.
    I don't know her feelings on it and I might never know. But Its really up to me as her conservator and caregiver and mother if she goes or not. And its up to me to speak for her since she can't. I think that's why I would get upset if she gets an invataiton it hurts me because she can't respond to it. Its not a nice card I can read to her to make her feel good. Its a request. I would be greatful of the invite since it is proper etiquette but I wouldn't give it to her.
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    Thank you for that question you helped me figure out the reasoning behind my feelings.
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    No she's 4. We don't know if she will overcome challenges she faces or not. But I think how its going to be when she's older everyday. I don't know her feelings on it and I might never know. But Its really up to me as her conservator and caregiver and mother if she goes or not. And its up to me to speak for her since she can't. I think that's why I would get upset if she gets an invataiton it hurts me because she can't respond to it. Its not a nice card I can read to her to make her feel good. Its a request. I would be greatful of the invite since it is proper etiquette but I wouldn't give it to her.
    woah woah...that changes everything.  A 4 year old would only receive and invitation attached to their parents.  I think we were all assuming you had an adult daughter.  
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