Commentary by Howard Renensland, Founder/CEO of [with]tv:
"I saw Timothy Shriver recently. While I admire the work he and his family have done and continue to do and respect his intent to eliminate the use of the words 'Retard' and 'retarded' as in, "what are you, a retard?", "Hey, retard", "OMG, that is so retarded." I just don't believe it is the most effective approach.
Let's face it - when someone is hitting you, does asking them to stop usually do the trick? We need to go out with our loved one, family member, friend, etc. who is developmentally disabled, intellectually disabled or - my choice - a person with disabilities. Go with them everywhere. Work, worship, shopping, leisure etc. The more people see and meet them, the less likely they will be to think, talk or act disrespectfully, because in knowing them comes respect.
The harm that these words do - 'retard', 'intellectually disabled/challenged', 'developmentally disabled', etc.- is in the labeling which is not apt. My own daughter has intellectual skills and deficits all over the place; yet she continues to seek knowledge, is curious about all things, and acquires knowledge, information and experiences hourly. Many, many people I know who are not labeled operate in society without being singled out, but truly have not had a new, kind, thought about PWDs since middle school. Not to make fun of them - who of us is perfect? Who of us does not do things each day that are ill conceived, short-sighted, unfortunate, misguided, ignorant, cruel, or mean-spirited? Such is the human condition. But hopefully, at the end of the day we have also done kind, thoughtful and supportive things.
Love your loved one with a disability. Share them with the world, don't exclude them. Share them. Only then will the community as a whole progress as it can. And I mean the whole world community, not just those of us with loved ones with a disability or disabilities of our own.