What’s in a Name? Rosa’s Law Passed

Federal statutes will no longer use the term “mental retardation” instead substituting the phrase “intellectual disability.”  President Obama officially signed into law this October a bill that has spent months wending its way through Congress.

Who is Rosa?

Rosa is a now 9-year old Maryland girl with Down’s Syndrome.  Her mother took issue with the school calling her daughter retarded.  “There hasn’t been one ounce of opposition. People had already gotten rid of the term, except in slang,” Rosa’s mother, Nina Marcellino said.

Why is the Language we use Important?

Peter V. Berns, CEO of The ARC (the battle to abolish the term “retarded” has been going on for decades, and in the 1980s families and people with developmental disabilities changed the name of Association for Retarded Citizens to ARC.) “We understand that language plays a crucial role in how people with intellectual disabilities are perceived and treated in society,” Berns said in a statement. “Changing how we talk about people with disabilities is a critical step in promoting and protecting their basic civil and human rights.”

Will New York Ever Become Politically Correct?

As I have said before, New York is one of the few states that have not yet removed the phrase “retardation” from one of the largest organizations of its kind: the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD).

It is time New York joined the Federal government and 44 other states in removing this arcane language.

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