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Rosa's Law to End Term 'Mentally Retarded'

Photo Courtesy -- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilaties

(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Tuesday signed legislation, called Rosa's Law, requiring the federal government to use the term “intellectual disability” instead of “mental retardation” and “individual with an intellectual disability” instead of “mentally retarded” in health, education, and labor policy.

Rosa’s Law is named for Rosa Marcellino, a young Maryland girl with an intellectual disability whose brother Nick convinced his state legislature to change the official phrase to "individual with an intellectual disability."

"We're not allowed to use the words at my house, it would be just like saying a curse word," said Nick in testimony to Maryland legislators. "We're also not allowed to use other words that are hurtful to minorities or people who are different."

The change will be not be immediate, but instead will be made gradually over the next several years.

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