Proposed New Federal Law Would Eliminate The Phrase "Mentally Retarded" From Government Programs

Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) has proposed a bill that would eliminate the use of the word “retarded” in all federal programs.

The new bill would replace the phrase “mental retardation,” which is used in many important pieces of federal legislation like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act, with the term “intellectual disability.” According to Sen. Mikulski, the new law would have no cost and would do a lot to lessen the stigma the word “retarded” places on people with intellectual disabilities.

The proposed law is called “Rosa’s Law” after 8-year-old Rosa Marcellino who has Downs syndrome. Rosa’s family, who live in Maryland, succeeded in getting a law passed in Maryland striking the use of the word “retarded” from state law in favor of the phrase “individual with intellectual disabilities.” The Marcellino family is continuing the fight in the U.S. Senate.

To read Rosa’s Law in its entirety, click here.

Source: Academy of Special Needs Planners