Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October is Disability Awareness Month - Rosa's Law

Protest of California health care budget cutsImage by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

We have some great news!

We learned via 2 Facebook pages that President Obama and Congress have passed a new law in support of Disability Rights.

Yesterday,  Family Network on Disabilities and TASH both reported:

President Obama signed into law S. 2781, “Rosa’s Law” which changes references in many Federal statutes that currently refer to “mental retardation” and the 'mentally retarded'. 
Now, federal laws, publications and the like will refer to individuals with mental disabilities as a person with an “intellectual disability” and 'individual with intellectual disabilities'.  It will take several years to strike out the 'hurtful' terms and replace them with appropriate references.  These changes will be reflected in federal health, education and labor laws. Most states and some federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already use the new language.

Rosa’s Law is named for Rosa Marcellino, a Maryland girl with Down syndrome.

Go the National Institute of Mental Health to learn more about intellectual disabilities. .  NIMH is 'transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illness through research'.

"According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans over 18 years of age suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Over 20 million people have depression, and many more go undiagnosed.   In addition to feeling stigmatized and alienated, people with depression have to face insurance companies that won't always provide full coverage for mental heath treatments" (

Another great way to remove the stigma of having a disability!

Read more about this landmark legislation in Disability Scoop - President Obama Signs Rosas Law.
Learn more about intellectual disabilities in the publication of the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability(JIDD).

Now, all our states and territorities need to play 'follow the leader'!

Let's practice:  "My son has an intellectual disability."
Let's teach:        "My neighbor was diagnosed with Down Syndrome which is an intellectual disability."
(according to Rosa's Law)


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