The use of the terminology of mental retardation has been phased out because of the passage of Rosa’s Law in 2013. This Law basically changes the references in Federal law to mental retardation to references to an intellectual disability, and changes references to a mentally retarded individual to references to an individual with an intellectual disability. It is important to understand, that while the change is small, the meaning is huge to people who lived with the stigma that society has placed in "Mental Retardation."
Historically there have been society changes. Today, for example, there is greater understanding, acceptance and a more open environment for people with Intellectual disabilities (ID) or Individual with Intellectual disabilities (IID); they have the opportunity to learn and develop throughout their lifetimes. There have been many agents of this change: the advent of community Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded (now called Intermediate Care Facility for People with Intellectual Disabilities or ICF/ID); progressive laws such as the Developmental Disabilities Act (1907); the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1975); additions to the Social Security Act (1981); the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990); and, educational services such as Special Education that emphasizes mainstreaming in public schools. Another change agent has been locating small facilities and group home residences in communities.
Over time long-term care has been redefined to include services and supports for persons with Intellectual disabilities. Today, community ICF/ID’s provide progressive and technically advanced care and quality of life environment with access to choice, the hallmarks of these services. ICF/ID’s offer a wide array of therapies, and on-site medical staff to meet the complex and changing needs of clients, while also providing support to families.
Training programs provide more opportunities for individuals to live in settings they choose with greater access to the full benefits of the community-at-large schools, jobs, socialization, etc. Personal and support services add to the quality of life and help motivate clients to learn practical life skills and socialization, employment, recreation, etc. ICF/IDs have clients who range from children to the elderly. Often the facilities become the client’s home with the staff becoming a second and sometimes sole family for the residents.
The result is that residents in these settings have the opportunity to live their lives characterized by health happiness, dignity and productivity to the maximum extent possible.
In ICF/IDs, there is one constant − the licensed and inspection regimes remain the same irrespective of how they are organized. This contrasts with group home under the HCB waiver program that may only have a few clients in a staffed (or unstaffed) residence with minimal government involvement, supervision or oversight.