Legislation introduced Tuesday would remove the words “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from federal laws, replacing the terms with “intellectual disability” and “individual with an intellectual disability.”
The measure, introduced by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Michael Enzi (R-WY), would make the changes in federal education, health and labor laws. Mikulski said the bill would encourage respectful and humane treatment of people with intellectual disabilities, and would establish consistent language across the federal government.
Known as Rosa’s Law, the measure is modeled on a law that was recently enacted in Maryland.
“… in changing the language, we believe that it will be start of new attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities. Hopefully, people will associate new words with the very able and valuable people that go to school, work, play soccer or live next door,” said Mikulski.