Since Rosa's Law was signed into effect on October 5th, this blog regarding it is a little late, but noteworthy, nonetheless. Rosa's Law changes references in many federal statutes from "mentally retarded" to "intellectual disability". The effort was begun by the parents of a little girl who is 9 years old and who has Down syndrome. I found this link below, which lists all laws signed that day (this particular one is in bold letters), and down below are all these blog comments about it.
Wow. Call me naive, but I am stunned by some of them. Maybe this sort of thing just brings out the meanies. A few people think we should not waste federal money on such a language change, but I read somewhere else that there was no cost for this. (Sorry for the missing source, but I will keep looking.) Be warned: reading these comments can get you a little stirred up. They did me. I try hard to see where people come from, but there are some real jerks out there. However, one parent says that unless you have had the word “retarded” used as a slur against your child, you just won’t understand the need for this change. I agree here; unless the word has hurt you, perhaps there is no way to understand.
I do think that the change is needed because our society has gotten out of hand with its disrespect toward those who have disabilities, but will a change in terminology change the hearts of the seemingly heartless? I know that this new term connotes the same thing, but there is not the same derogatory and demeaning association with “intellectual disability”. I mean, movies and comedy routines have brazenly slammed with the negative slur of “retarded” for far too long. I do wonder what term might come down the pike after this one is outdated. We look at it as progress, but so did those who pushed for the change from “feeble minded” to “mentally retarded”. BUT. It all goes back to attitude and respect.
Read some good points and some jerky ones here.