It’s Time to Stop Using the Word “Retard,” writes Kasey Studdard, a professional football player. Before he had his growth spurt and became a star athlete, he was a “slow, little, fat kid” with learning disabilities. He was “teased, ridiculed, and isolated.”
His mother, a teacher, helped him keep up in school, despite his information processing problems, he writes.
In college and the pros, he had to work much, much harder than anyone else to learn the plays. “Even after I considered them memorized, I still made sure to go back to my diagrams, to stay late to ask questions of the coaching staff, and to sit for extra video sessions.”
With his wife, Studdard is launching a foundation to “allow children to experience the joys of the outdoors . . . without fear of being singled out on account of being disabled, or slow, or poor … or different.”
Studdard is part of a Special Olympics’ campaign to stop the use of “the r-word” (retard). It’s often used as an insult.
Here’s an argument in favor of keeping “retarded” as an acceptable term for intellectual disability.
Stacie Lewis, who has a disabled daughter, agrees that the word “retard” isn’t the issue. “Treating the disabled humanely is.”