Friday, October 8, 2010

And the 'correct' word is....

S. 2781, the "Rosa's Law," which changes references in many Federal statutes that currently refer to "mental retardation" to refer, instead, to "intellectual disability"

Eunice Shriver put this in the Special Olympic Mission Statement back in 1968 when she created the Olympics (..."individuals eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities ...")

Mental Retardation is a medical condition and no matter how fancy a word that tries to take the sting off, it is what it is. People will still stare, parents of 'normal' children will still mouth "re-tar-ded" behind your back when they think you're not listening or seeing them, when folks make a mistake, they will still say 'I'm so retarded'. It's the word that was always there whether spoke out loud or in whispers. I work w/a woman so far back in the land of cave that she still calls disabled people 'mongoloid.' What. The. Hell??? There are so many variables: retarded, mentally disabled, mentally challenged, slow, special needs, austic, Aspergers; society will only know it in one way - retarded.

The word 'retarded' is a hurting, cutting word like all other words that are used to infuse hurt. My son's neurologist used that word years ago, in a very professional manner, yet it blew me over. I mean I knew my son was/is 'slow', or 'behind', but seems like there had to a a kinder way of saying it. Then again, I didn't want the mouthful of saying, 'oh, he's Fragile X w/ADHD & borderline autism. I usually never have to bring up anything at all, but when I do, I just say he's autistic. After all, he is. We can get that out of the way & move along.

But, congrats to the "Rosa's Law" family for getting their voices heard. The evening news said older folks who're mentally disabled wept at hearing of the Bill being signed as they had endured so much hurt w/the word 'retarded.'

Here's to the real members of society :-)


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