Mental Retardation Now Intellectual Disability
At D&S Community Services we do not use the term mental retardation out of respect for individuals with intellectual or cognitive disabilities. We do acknowledge that this terminology still exists and may be used in the search for care solutions. However on our website the term mental retardation has been replaced with intellectual disability in terms of the specific residential home and community based services that we offer.
A Brief History
Over the last two decades, the term “intellectual disability” has replaced “mental retardation” as the preferred term. The shift in terminology stems from a move toward eliminating the negative and offensive connotations associated with the words mental retardation.
Until recently, the term mental retardation was still found in legislation pertaining to individuals with intellectual disabilities. In 2010, a federal law was passed to replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability.” This law, often referred to as Rosa’s Law was named after a Maryland girl with Down Syndrome¸ whose family campaigned for a change in terminology due to the negative connotation. As her brother Nick stated, “When you think about it, what you call people is how you treat people.”
Finally in 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court deemed the term mental retardation to longer appropriate to use. Although this action follows changes already adopted by mental health professionals and the most of the general population, the institutions decision is a clear reflection of society’s progress toward treating individuals with disability with dignity.
Our Approach and Services
At D&S Community Services we are focused on enabling quality of life an independence for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Our Residential Living and In Home Support programs are designed to meet the specific need of the individual and their families. Challenging behavior can often interfere with an individual’s ability to achieve self-determination and independence. Our team uses person-centered thinking and a positive behavior approach so that our treatment plans focus not only on the challenging behavior, but on increasing the individual’s ability to access, control, and expect the routines and activities that are most important to them.