When I was growing up in the late 60's - early 70's it was very common to hear the words "retard" or "retarded" being used as a casual put down:
"This game is so retarded."
"Don't be such a retard."
I never gave it a second thought, really. It was just the way we spoke. The word "retarded" was simply an antonym for "cool"; just like "down" was the opposite of "up." As I kid I never considered that using the "R" word could be hurtful and disrespectful to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
But, it is.
Little did I know that I was destined to become the mother of a child with a developmental disability and that the word that had once slipped so easily off my tongue would one day make my ears burn.