This is a paid piece donated to Special Olympics South Dakota.

Simplified: It's "Spread the Word: Inclusion" day on Wednesday for Special Olympics, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting people with intellectual disabilities.

Why it matters:

  • A record number of South Dakota schools signed up to participate in the campaign this year.
  • The goal of the campaign is to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities.
"We're trying to change attitudes and perceptions starting with younger folks because they're our future parents, our future leaders," said Johna Thum, vice president of field services for Special Olympics South Dakota. "But it's never too late for anybody to have a change of attitude."

What's the history behind the campaign?

The "Spread the Word" campaign started in 2009 with a focus on ending the use of the "R-word," a term seen as harmful, exclusionary and bullying toward people with disabilities.

Students are asked to take a pledge to no longer use that word, acknowledging that it's harmful.

What will kids see in school on Wednesday?

It varies. But most will display banners, posters, and give students pencils or pens provided by Special Olympics South Dakota to promote the Spread the Word: Inclusion campaign.

Many schools will also hear from speakers, have special messages in their morning announcements or discuss inclusion in their classrooms.

How can I get involved?

You can take the pledge to use respectful, people-first language.

And you can learn more about getting involved with Special Olympics South Dakota here.