Thursday, November 19, 2009
This email was titled "FYI" and sent to me and the other members of the board this afternoon from Mike, ASPIRO's president. It's a yay moment... WASHINGTON, D.C. – AAIDD (the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) congratulates U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) and Michael B. Enzi (R-WY) for their leadership in introducing Rosa’s Law, a bill that will eliminate the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from the federal law books. These now pejorative terms are commonly used in legislation including the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, the Higher Education Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under Rosa’s Law, those terms would be replaced with “intellectual disability” and “individual with an intellectual disability” in federal education, health and labor laws. The bill does not expand or diminish services, rights or educational opportunities. It simply makes the federal law language consistent with that used by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the President of the United States, through his Committee on Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. “Rosa’s Law represents a critical step forward in ending societal discrimination and it will help create a path to full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in our country” said AAIDD’s Executive Director, Doreen Croser. “Furthermore, the bill is particularly timely as AAIDD has just released its new terminology manual “INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY: Definition Classification and Systems of Supports. The new manual provides useful information for policy-makers and for professionals who are assisting people with intellectual disabilities. This issue is important to AAIDD and I encourage AAIDD members to get involved. Let’s do our part in ensuring Rosa’s law becomes a reality!” Replicating a law that was recently adopted in Maryland, Senator Mikulski said that “This (federal) bill is driven by a passion for social justice and compassion for the human condition. We’ve done a lot to come out of the dark ages of institutionalization and exclusion when it comes to people with intellectual disabilities. I urge my colleagues to join me to take a step further. The disability community deserves it. Rosa deserves it.” “We know now that words have meaning, sometimes far beyond what we intend,” added Senator Enzi. “Therefore, we must be very careful about the way we describe the people we see every day, including those with disabilities, or those who are undergoing treatment for a variety of health issues. Unfortunately, the federal government has not dropped this term from our laws and it still appears in the regulations and statutes that come before our legislative bodies and our courts. Rosa’s Law has garnered support from six additional cosponsors from both sides of the aisle, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Senator Lamar Alexander (R- Tenn.), Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), as well as more than 30 national organizations to date: http://mikulski.senate.gov/_pdfs/Press/Organizations.pdf. Founded in 1876, AAIDD is the world’s oldest organization of professionals concerned about intellectual disabilities. The AAIDD Mission is to promote progressive policies, sound research, effective practices and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Posted by Jill Kocian