Rosa's Law

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Rosa's Law (Pub. L. 111-256) is a United States law which replaces several instances of "mental retardation" in law with "intellectual disability". The bill was introduced as S.2781 in the United States Senate on November 17, 2009 by Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). It passed the Senate unanimously on August 5, 2010, then the House of Representatives on September 22, and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 5.[1] The law is named for Rosa Marcellino, a girl with Down Syndrome who was nine years old when it became law, and who, according to President Barack Obama, "worked with her parents and her siblings to have the words 'mentally retarded' officially removed from the health and education code in her home state of Maryland." [2]

Rosa's Law is considered a part of a long line of changes that has been on-going since the early 1900s. Words such as "idiot" and "moron" were common in court documents and diagnosis throughout the early 1900s. In the 1960s, changes in the law led to the use of such words as "mental retardation" instead of traditional words such as "idiot". At the time these words were hailed as modern.[3]

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