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Moving on From Retardation

Posted by wogletree on November 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM

I took a look at Google Trends this morning.  The phrase "Developmental Disabilities" was most popular in Ohio over the last year.  With Ohio at 100, Mississippi's search for the term fell at 21.  In a search for "Mental Retardation", with Pennsylvania at 100, Mississippi hit 83.  Searches for "Retarded" was similar with Mississippi at 82.

So, I set out to write this post.  Why?  Because we offer services to the IDD community in Jackson County, Mississippi.  In Google Trends for "IDD", with Idaho at 100, Mississippi is 0.  We can say "IDD" all day long, but you're not going to hear us.

IDD stands for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  It's also sometimes abreviated as ID/DD.  We've made the change because "retarded" has become an insult.  In fact, there are many people who think it was mean of the industry to ever use the term.  So, let me set a few things straight.

In 1773, Pennsylvania Hospital became the first public facility for "idiots" and "lunatics".  Then, in 1848, we had the Massachusetts school for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth.  Other terms used were idiot, moron, and imbecile.

At the time these terms were adopted, they were simply meant to medically descriptive.  Our society turned them into pejoritives.  We've done it for hundreds of years. Our society will keep on doing it, and one day we'll have to change the terminolgy again.

One of the earliest terms I found is "cretin".  Today, it means a stupid, foolish, or insensitive person.  When it was coined though, it was a play on its latin roots.  It meant "Christian", for these were the most Christian among us.

If only society had such a heart and such a love for those in need.

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