Companion Content

Rosas Law

“Some say we shouldn’t worry about the words, just the way we treat people. But if you think about it, what you call people is how you treat people. If we change the words, maybe it’ll be the start of a new attitude towards people with intellectual disabilities. And they deserve it.”

In 2010, President Barack Obama signed “Rosa’s Law” which changed “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” in US federal law. Inspired by nine year-old Rosa Marcellino, the law was a key component in the groundswell of advocacy efforts promoting inclusive, people first language for people with intellectual disabilities.

One such effort to end the hurtful use of the “R-word” is the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign, launched in 2009, inspiring over 1,000,000 people to sign the pledge to end the R-word. Ten years later, Spread the Word to End the Word is becoming Spread the Word: Inclusion, focusing beyond one word and creating a new reality of inclusion for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.