NDSS uses and encourages the use of person first language (i.e. 'a child with Down syndrome' rather than 'a Down syndrome child'). NDSS exclusively uses and encourages the use of the socially acceptable term "intellectual disability."
NDSS strongly condemns the use of the word "retarded" in any derogatory or inappropriate context. People with disabilities, like all people, deserve to be treated as valued citizens and not referred to in a hurtful manner for any purpose. Using the 'R word' is hurtful and suggests that people with disabilities are not competent. Negative and inaccurate public perceptions are the greatest barriers the National Down Syndrome Society faces in achieving acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and other cognitive disabilities.