In reference to low intellectual ability, the terms retarded, retardation,
and mental retardation
are now usually perceived as insulting. There are several acceptable alternatives. In general, someone with a mental, physical, or emotional disability may be described as developmentally disabled,
or as a person with a developmental disability.
If it is specifically a mental disability, the person may be described as cognitively impaired
or intellectually (or mentally) disabled.
Such a person may be referred to as an individual with a cognitive impairment
or a person with an intellectual (or mental) disability.
The slang term retard
is a term of abuse used especially by children, though much less commonly than in the past. In both of its meanings, retard
is perceived as insulting to disabled people. See also cripple