Stories about: mental retardation

MA legislators ban the 'R-word' from state laws

By Brian Skotko, MD, MPP, a specialist in Children’s Hospital Boston’s Down Syndrome Program

Brian Skotko, MD, MPP
Brian Skotko, MD, MPP

Let’s applaud together. After decades of advocacy, two words are now banished from our state laws. Last week, Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation that effectively replaced every use of the words “mental retardation” with “intellectual disabilities or disability” in all Massachusetts’s laws. This comes nearly one year after the Department of Mental Retardation was renamed the Department of Developmental Services.

So, what’s the big deal? For years, our society has turned what was once a simple medical term into an epithet of ridicule and bigotry.

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