A mother of a child with special needs reacts to Obama's gaffe on "The Tonight Show."
Psychiatrist Dr. Eva Ritvo: As a mother of a daughter with cerebral palsy and a long-time Special Olympics supporter, I was disappointed by what happened on "The Tonight Show." I think President Obama's comment was really unfortunate, and contributes to negative stereotypes.
It's unfortunate when people make comments that hurt people on the other end. Sometimes things come out in humor that would be better left unsaid. People with special needs often experience social isolation and ostracization.
Words should be used to create good in this world. All people should avoid words that could be hurtful. But everybody makes mistakes. We will forgive Barack Obama for this, and we will watch carefully to see how he will help with those more needy in our society.
The Special Olympics should not be mocked in any fashion. It's an extraordinary accomplishment to be chosen to participate in the Special Olympics. Participants enjoy camaraderie, and it gives them an opportunity to shine. They experience a sense of accomplishment and success
It's all about tolerance. That's been the beauty of Barack Obama -- he's taught us that we can reach any lofty goal we set for ourselves. That's what's been so refreshing about him up to now.
Who knows? Maybe there will even be a president in the future with special needs. After all, FDR was one of our best presidents.
This was an unfortunate slip of the tongue, but hopefully something good can come out of it. Maybe it will raise awareness. We need to be sensitive to people with special needs, and more acceptance of diversity of all kinds.
We hope that President Barack Obama will in fact pay attention to these special children and special adults.