I know it is no longer politically correct to use the term mental retardation, and that disability advocates want us to say intellectual disability instead. But here's the thing. No one knows what that means, and well, with my already having to give a science lesson every time I try to tell someone what's up with my kid, I don't want to also have to give a lesson in politically correct vocabulary. Mental retardation is quick. Everyone understands it.
Case in point. Today, two co-workers were discussing potty chairs (don't ask) and then one co-worker (who doesn't know me well and didn't know about my son) asked me which one my son used. Ummmmm... So in an effort to have a quick conversation and get back to work, I simply said he probably wouldn't be ready to have a potty chair for quite awhile. I could see the wheels in her head turning, like she was doing the math, trying to figure out how old my son was. Then she asked and I said, "He's a little over two." Then more wheels turning. So I volunteered, "He has a disability." Then she said, "But I've seen him walking and he is quite charming!" Ummmmm, okay... So I said, "Oh, he can walk, but he is mentally retarded." And then the light blub went on. She asked for more info and I began the Fragile X Elevator Speech.
I've tried intellectual disability and developmental delay before, and those words tend to elicit irritating puzzlement ("Huh?") or trivialization of the problem ("Oh, my son was a little slow, too, and now he's a rocket scientist!"). But mental retardation works every time. What language do you use?
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