In America 'mental retardation' is still given as a diagnosis, and the word 'retard' serves as an insult.
The R word is fortunately not one that we often hear in the UK but sadly we have other equally derisive and hurtful terms; 'Mong' being the one that springs to my mind, having been used recently by a high profile comedian who later claimed he 'didn't mean it that way'.
We must all get together to squash the use of all and any such offensive terms. Even the 'he's not quite all there,' used by the older generation cuts deep.
Please join the Spread the Word to End the R Word campaign by signing a pledge not to use such language here.
And if you are in any doubt as to why we need to do this, or why such language is so very offensive to those with Learning Disabilities, please read this open letter to Ann Coulter, who used the R word as an insult to Obama. It is written by John Franklin Stephens, an athlete who competed in the Special Olympics, who has Down Syndrome. It is beautiful, eloquent and powerful.