Because avoiding demeaning language is another way to respect people with intellectual disability. This isn’t about curbing freedom of speech, political correctness, extreme uptightness or go find something else to worry about what’s the big deal — it’s about decency, consideration and, wait for it, respect. Would you call a person you love a loser? No? (I hope you said “no.”) Well, when you jokingly use the words “retard,” “retarded” or “‘tard” as synonyms for loser, pathetic, clueless or stupid, you perpetuate the perception that children and adults with intellectual disability are pathetic clueless stupid losers. Basically, you slam an entire population… even if you don’t mean to.

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