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PA Senate Bill Replaces term “Mental Retardation” with “Intellectual Disability

The Pennsylvania State Senate Bill NO.458, Printers NO. 1299 which was passed unanimously in both the Senate and the House amends the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966 by renaming it the Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Act. This amendment will change the language used in the entire law, which defines the term and controls the Department of Public Welfare’s use of the term.This legislation renames the existing act and replaces the terms “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability.”

The amended Act replaces the current definition as: “Intellectual disability” means significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning that is accompanied by significant limitations in adaptive functioning in at least two of the following skill areas: communication, self-care, home living, social and interpersonal skills, use of community resources, self-direction, functional
academic skills, work, health and safety. The onset must occur before the individual’s twenty second birthday.

Information provided by the PA Department of Public Welfare, Office of Developmental Programs’ Public Notices on November 29, 2011