Retarded is a clinical term used to describe an individual with developmental delays and intellectual disabilities. Medically speaking, mental retardation and retarded are still appropriate words to use. However, more and more medical professionals are choosing to eliminate that terminology and use the more politically correct terms of developmental delay, developmental disability and intellectually disabled.
Unfortunately, the word retarded or retard is used more often in our society by people who are directing it at someone else as an insult. The word is used to refer to a person who is acting stupid. The word is used to shame someone, to indicate they are not smart.
I will admit to using this word in the past. I have used it in the same derogatory manner I described above. I was wrong.
Marissa has not been described as mentally retarded, nor has she been labeled intellectually disabled. She has been described as having some degree of developmental delay.
Regardless, as a parent of a special needs child, I have come to recognize that using the "r word" in any way other than the clinical medical definition is wrong. As a society, we have deemed certain words inappropriate. For some reason, retarded and retard are still acceptable words to use as insults.
All I am asking is that you stop and think before you use these words. Teach your children that the use of these words as an insult to someone is wrong. Teach them that there are people in this world who these words apply to, that these people are human beings with feelings that get hurt, and often don't have the capability to defend themselves against insults. Teach them to respect others who are different from them.
Make "respect" the new "r word".
Click on the link below to learn more.