Trading one myth for another?: With apologies to Dr. Brabner.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
J. David Smith, Professor, Department Chair (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Six years ago I asserted in print, with some sense of daring, that it was time to admit that the term mental retardation was a myth, a “false and unhelpful categorization of people with very diverse needs and characteristics” (Smith, 2002, p. 64). I quoted from Thomas Ssasz's (1960) classic work, The Myth of Mental Illness, and described the term mental retardation as being “scientifically worthless and socially harmful” (Ssasz, 1960, p. xi). I argued that the term should become an historical artifact of our evolving thought about children and adults with developmental disabilities. In my opinion, the millions of people who have been misunderstood and, sometimes, maligned by the term were deserving of a change in the manner in which they were regarded and treated. A disassembling of the aggregation of human conditions gathered under the term mental retardation might provide an opportunity to enhance our vision of who these people are as individuals and our understanding of their rightful places in our communities (Smith, 2002).

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
developmental disabilities, terminology

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