President Obama Signs Rosa's Law Eliminating the"R" Word in Government

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      On October 5th, 2010 President Obama signed S. 2781, known as Rosa's law, requiring the federal government to replace the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability" in federal education, health, and labor laws. The law is named after Rosa Marcellino who is 9 years old and was born with Down syndrome. Rosa's mother, Nina Marcellino, was moved to advocate to strip the "R" word from legislation when Rosa was referred to as having "mental retardation" in her education plan in elementary school. Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski introduced the bill last November.

     Rosa's mother and other parents were successful in getting  Maryland legislation passed in April 2009 that eliminated the "R" word from that state's legislation. Senator Mikulski modeled the federal bill on the Maryland law.