Monday, March 30, 2009

Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Retardation changes its name


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The old saying sticks and stones may hurt your bones but words can never hurt you, isn't always true. Advocates for the developmentally disabled say words do matter.

The word retardation is defined as slowness in development or progress and is often used to describe people with mental and physical disabilities. But the word carries a negative stigma that many people find offensive.

But on March 30 lawmakers and advocates will celebrate the victory of putting this word to rest.

The Department of Mental Retardation will be changing its name to the Department of Developmental Services.

The new name will take effect on June 30. Advocates of the mentally disabled hope changing the name will bring a greater awareness to the power of words and how they can affect people.