People with an intellectual disability, which is popularly known as “mental retardation,” are PEOPLE foremost. They are more than just the sum of their disabilities. They are capable of a lot and can live very satisfied lives, just like you.
1. Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation is a Mental Illness?
- I.D. or Mental Retardation is a condition that means a person develops mentally at a slower rate than average in “learning, reasoning, problem solving, and so on.”
- They are capable of learning and showing progress when given the necessary education, care, and intervention.
2. Everyone diagnosed with I.D./M.R. are violent and grow up to be criminals.
3. They do not have feelings or recognize emotions.
- In fact, people with I.D./M.R. “have the same range of feelings and emotions as anyone else.”
- Intellectual disability is a condition defined by limitations in intellectual functioning and adaptive functioning, which refer to mental capacity (i.e. learning) and behavioral skills (such as language and literacy skills, social skills, and basic personal care skills).
- It does not stop a person from having the capacity to feel emotions such as sadness, anger, and fear.
- People with disabilities, especially those who are nonverbal, are often targets of abuse because they cannot report the harm being done to them and are seen not as human beings.
- In addition to the long list of abuses Twenty-year old K.C. endured at Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center prior to his death, the state-workers never called him by his name and instead referred to him as: “it,” “the thing, “the sparrow” and “the walking plague.” Read more about K.C. in the NYT article and the closure of O.D. Heck at: <http://nyti.ms/1z6bG9f>
- If you have any knowledge of abuse, neglect and mistreatment, please contact the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (http://www.justicecenter.ny.gov) or call 1-855-373-2122.
Sources:1. Myths Of Mental Retardation: Keys To Understanding Mental Retardation by Luzerne-Wyoming Counties MH/MR Program <http://centralvalley.ca.networkofcare.org/dd/library/article.aspx?id=1021>
2. “Myths and Facts” by Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County Office of Education < http://www.stancoe.org/cfs/handouts/SpecialNds/pdf/MythsFacts.pdf>