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Why This Common Slang Word Harms People With Cerebral Palsy

“I drove all the way to the store and freaked out when I forgot my wallet. I’m such a spaz.” “When I saw Harry Styles in concert, I totally started spazzing out.” “My roommate just went completely spastic on me because she found ants in our apartment.” “Spaz” is part of our vocabulary.

Some of us use it every day. But just because a word is deeply ingrained in our lexicon, it doesn’t mean we should use it — and “spaz” and “spastic” are no exception.

Why take offense, though? Unfortunately, “spaz” — and its progenitor, “spastic” — have devolved into a far-too-easy way to describe people and things that are awkward, overly excitable and uncool, but they also subtly denigrate people with cerebral palsy. “Spastic” originated as (and still is)

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