As I discussed in a similar presentation at the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) Board Open Forum in Denver on June 1, 2001, I approach the discussion of a name change with some ambivalence. For many of us, the term mental retardation has valid and communicative meaning from a diagnostic, legal, and entitlement perspective; but we are also acutely aware that the term is stigmatizing, used all too frequently in a pejorative way, and is very painful to many individuals.

In this article, I suggest that it is time for AAMR to change its name. In the process, I would like to have readers think specifically about “what is in a name” and why it is time to move ahead and change AAMR's name. Although I suggest the name “The American Society on Intellectual Disabilities,” I also suggest that we keep the technical term mental retardation for diagnostic and...

You do not currently have access to this content.