A Philadelphia City Council committee passed a bill on Tuesday November 19, 2013 to remove all references of the term “mental retardation” from the city’s laws and regulations and replace it with “intellectual disability.”
The city has already changed the name of its Office of Mental Retardation Services to Intellectual Disability Services. This bill, sponsored by Councilman Dennis O’Brien, would bring the city in line with federal and state laws that were passed in 2010 and 2011.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania President and CEO Matt Aaron testified that the disabled don’t want special treatment, just equal treatment.
"Not to give them something special, not to give them a handout of special treatment," Aaron said, "but instead to remove a barrier to allow them to go on and do and be and achieve their full potential just as any other citizen would do."
The committee approved the change and sent it to the full Council for a final vote next month.
About Nicole Jones: Special Olympics Pennsylvania's Director of Communications