The word "retarded" sounds so negative, I guess. I know when I use it, it's not to point out someone's positive attributes. Like, we watched that movie, "Dinner with Schmucks" and I asked Brian about Steve Carell's character, "is he supposed to be retarded?" I could have said "special," but "retarded" was more the word I was looking for.
However, when I'm talking about my own child, "special" seems so much more appropriate. Maybe it's because I want to focus more on how special she is instead of how behind she is. Maybe it's because it's more important to me what she CAN do and what she IS (like alive) than what she can't do (yet). Maybe it's because my heart breaks a little everytime I realize that the older she gets, the more she's going to realize that she's different than other kids, and she's going to get made fun of. She'll probably even be called "retard." I guess it'll be important to teach her what "retarded" means, and that it isn't necessarily a bad thing...it just makes you more special. Because she is special, and anyone who takes the time to get to know her realizes that.