The Social Security Administration will become the latest federal agency to start using the term “intellectual disability” in lieu of “mental retardation.”
In a final rule published in the Federal Register on Thursday, Social Security officials said they approved the change in terminology citing “widespread adoption” of the term “intellectual disability.”
“Advocates for individuals with intellectual disability have rightfully asserted that the term ‘mental retardation’ has negative connotations, has become offensive to many people, and often results in misunderstandings about the nature of the disorder and those who have it,” Social Security indicated.
Under the rule, all references to “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded children” will be replaced with “intellectual disability” and “children with intellectual disability” within Social Security’s Listing of Impairments and other agency rules. The change will not impact how claims are evaluated for those with the developmental disability.