The Original Medical Term for an Intellectually Disabled Person and the Evolution of This Term

The original medical term within psychology for a developmentally disabled person was “simpleton” during the 19th century which eventually became the wider used “moron”, from the Ancient Greek “moros” which means “dull”, a term originally considered neutral and non-pejorative. Because the term “moron” became used pejoratively within society by the 1960’s, the term was altered to become “retard”, from the Latin “retardare” which means “to make slow, delay, keep back, or hinder”. Because this term also became used pejoratively, the term was changed again in 2010 under the Barack Obama administration to become “intellectually disabled”. Other variants have become common place synonyms, often used interchangeably, either correctly or incorrectly, within society (eg. “developmentally delayed”, “specialized needs”, developmentally disabled” etc.)