“Mentally retarded” is out, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “People with intellectual disabilities” seems to be in.
The Allegheny County Office of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities is now the Allegheny County Office of Intellectual Disability.
“The term “mentally retarded” focused only the limitations of people, that somehow these were people who were substandard,” said Donald Clark, deputy director of the office, which comes under the county Department of Human Services. “People with intellectual disabilities can live productive lives.”
Nationally, the “American Association on Mental Retardation” is now the “American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.”
The name changes can be confusing, writes Christina Samuels, who blogs On Special Education at Ed Week. Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States is now The Arc of the United States, which says nothing about its purpose.
She asks what readers think of “special needs,” an increasingly popular replacement for disability categories. Is it too vague? Too cutesy?