At Disability Advocacy Day on March 2, 2001, we heard many of the Self Advocates talk about removing the “R” from our vocabulary. And replacing it with Respect!
Self advocates expressed how the “R” word has become derogatory and demeaning. They called for the State of South Carolina to follow the lead of other states and the federal government and pass a law that will replace the use of mental retardation with terminology like intellectual disabilities.
The legislator heard the call, and there are now two bills in progress. The Bill number in the House is H3920 introduced by Rep Bingham and the one in the Senate is S695 introduced by Senator Knotts.
This bill will replace mental retardation form state laws and replaces it with intellectual disabilities and replaces mentally retarded with person with intellectual disabilities. It also will require all state agencies to do the same in their policies, procedures and publications. But to ensure that their in no fiscal impact, agencies are only required to make these changes as they are making other changes. In this fiscally tough time, it was important to us that there not be any cost to making these changes.
Please ask your state Senator to cosponsor and to vote for Bill S. 695, and your Representative to cosponsor and to vote for Bill H 3920. Here are some key points to make:
Its time that we as a state show respect! Spread the word to end the word.