Many children have uttered the term “retard” or “retarded” to express their dislike of someone or during an argument not thinking of the group of people they offend.
Children – and many adults – get angry and that is a perfectly normal emotion but when they begin to feel as if they are losing the argument they will often grasp for the nearest weapon— hurtful words. The problem with that is obvious: an entire group of sweet, loving people are maligned in the process.
Do not wait for the first infraction to occur, teach children now about this group of people.
First and foremost, the terms that refer to this group of people are:
Physically Developmentally Disabled
The above terms are technically and politically correct and should be used in connection with this group of people.
The terms below used to describe this group of people is now archaic and should be discarded:
Developmentally differently abled
The above terms were originally designed or created to lessen stigma but has served to confuse medical definitions.
Please understand that the terms “physically developmentally disabled” and “intellectually/developmentally disabled” should never be confused with “mental illness.”
In reality the people who are physically developmentally disabled and intellectually/developmentally disabled are among the nicest, kindest and honest people you will ever meet. To be angry with someone and then call the person “retard” is saying exactly the opposite of what was intended.
Parents please, if you hear your child using the term “retard” or “retarded,” stop them and immediately teach them why the term is not to be used. Help them to come up with a less-caustic term or even a funny name for the person they are upset with. Example: Potato-head, String-bean, Tomato-toes, etc. (I’m a vegetarian.)
If you hear an adult using “retard” or “retarded,” calmly explain the slur and ask them politely not to repeat that in front of you or any children.
Please keep in mind that using those terms to hurt others will only lessen their own stature.
If you or your children have a need of word-weapons to hurl at others try to make it something that does not offend any group of people (religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.).
As for myself— the only time I would even come close to using that term is while shopping for something that does not burn quickly; it will be flame retardant.