The Ohio House of Representatives voted unanimously this past week to remove "mental
retardation" from the names of the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental
Disabilities and all 88 county MRDD boards.
Because of minor amendments to the bill, it will go back to the Senate for final approval next week, but
no additional changes are being considered.
The Wood County Board of MRDD will officially become the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities
after Gov. Ted Strickland signs the bill into law. However, the board will continue to be commonly known
as Wood Lane.
The agency is in the process of removing all references to "mental retardation" that previously
have been used throughout the program.
"This is a victory for persons served who have been concerned regarding the negative connotation
associated with the term," stated Wood Lane Superintendent Melanie Stretchbery.
She emphasized that the leaders of the initiative to change the name were individuals with developmental
disabilities. "Self-advocates led the ‘fight’ themselvesversus others doing so on their behalf.
That, indeed, is the triumph of this legislation."
Ten of Ohio’s county boards of MRDD have already been "doing business as" county boards of
developmental disabilities. Delaware County was the first county to drop "mental retardation"
from its name. That was in 1991.