A polite word referring to retarded people

arian20

Senior Member
Persian
Hello,

I am looking for a non-offensive word referring to “retarded people”. The ones who take part in special Olympic.
Is there a special word? or I should say "the ones with physical/mental disabilities" ?

Thank you
Arianr
 
  • Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hello,

    I am looking for a non-offensive word referring to “retarded people”. The ones who take part in special Olympic.
    Is there a special word? or I should say "the ones with physical/mental disabilities" ?

    Thank you
    Arianr

    The people you are thinking of here are not “retarded” (retarded means mentally not as well developed as other people of the same age, and relates mostly to children). You are thinking about “handicaped people”. Just use “handicaped”, and do not care about euphemisms that have only the function to make things seem something else than they are. A handicaped person doesn’t get less handicaped if you call him/her something else.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    The problem with just saying "handicapped," is that it can refer to any sort of disability. Why is the person handicapped? Does he have no feet? Is he blind? Is he paralyzed? Was he born without fingers? Was he injured in an accident?

    There have been many terms for the people you are referring to, Arian20. The problem is that each time one becomes commonplace someone else decides it means, well, exactly what it does mean, and calling someone that must be an insult so a better euphemism is needed. "Retarded" used to be the polite word, but now it's considered rude.

    I think the most up-to-date term is "developmentally delayed." This is pushing out "developmentally disabled" which preceeded it.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Once upon a time, it was not considered offensive to refer to 'cripples'.
    Then that was felt offensive and replaced by 'handicapped people'.
    Then that term went the same way and was replaced by 'disabled people'.
    That has now become objectionable to many, who insist on 'people with special needs'.

    Unfortunately, whatever term is selected, human nature is such that some people will use it offensively and other people will then feel the need for a new term.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    << moderator note. arian20, You need to be a bit clearer about what you mean. Are you asking about how to describe all people who qualify to compete in the Paralympics, or are you specifically asking about people with intellectual impairment? As ever, please provide a complete sentence so that we can see how you are trying to use the word or phrase ... and will the rest of you just wait until we have the information which is required. Let's not turn this into a synonym list, please. >>
     

    arian20

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thank you so much for your help and support.

    What I mean is in general and I think "developmentally challenged" fits the best in the concept.

    I was writing a text about negative points of providing all students with the same curriculum. I got to the point that some categories need special care and facilities but I didn't know the suitable word to name the category.

    Thanks again :)
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The current euphemism around here is "developmentally challenged"

    I hear many variations on "challenged". The two I hear most often are "mentally challenged" and simply "challenged"

    < Off-topic comment removed. Cagey, moderator >
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    RobTheProblem

    New Member
    English
    Hello,

    I am looking for a non-offensive word referring to “retarded people”. The ones who take part in special Olympic.
    Is there a special word? or I should say "the ones with physical/mental disabilities" ?

    Thank you
    Arianr

    You could say that the person has a "mental deficit", or that they are "Special Needs".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Intellectual disability" is the latest I've heard. Before that there was "intellectually challenged". I will see if I can find any references on this.

    I see that I mentioned the "challenged" versions earlier.

    This article adds "cognitive disability" to the mix: 11 Facts About Mental Disability

    “Intellectual disability” (previously known as mental retardation) means that an individual mentally develops at a below-average rate.

    Intellectual disability (sometimes called “cognitive disability”) is not a disease or a contagious condition.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    The favoured term in the UK these days is "special needs".

    From Lexico (Oxford Dictionaries): (in the context of children at school) particular educational requirements resulting from learning difficulties, physical disability, or emotional and behavioural difficulties.

    Their note on the use of "- challenged" is quite interesting, I think:
    Usage
    The use with a preceding adverb (e.g. physically challenged), originally intended to give a more positive tone than terms such as disabled or handicapped, arose in the US in the 1980s and quickly spread to the UK and elsewhere. Despite the serious intention the term rapidly became stalled by uses whose intention was to make fun of the attempts at euphemism and whose tone was usually clearly ironic: examples include cerebrally challenged, conversationally challenged, and follicularly challenged.
     

    WestSideGal

    Senior Member
    English, US
    Thank you so much for your help and support.

    What I mean is in general and I think "developmentally challenged" fits the best in the concept.

    I was writing a text about negative points of providing all students with the same curriculum. I got to the point that some categories need special care and facilities but I didn't know the suitable word to name the category.

    Thanks again :)
    So I think the current most politically correct term, at least here in the US, is intellectually disabled, mentally disabled or developmentally disabled. (retired rehab therapist here, chiming in).
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    So I think the current most politically correct term, at least here in the US, is intellectually disabled, mentally disabled or developmentally disabled. (retired rehab therapist here, chiming in).
    Not “disabled”. That would mean that the intellect did not work at all. Think, “The car was disabled and abandoned on the side of the road”.

    The intellect had a disability...it did not work as well as normal or expected.
     
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