Dan Barry: “Giving a Name, and Dignity, to a Disability”

Dan Barry, the winner of 2013’s Katherine Schneider Award Journalism Award for Excellence in Reporting on Disability, writes about evolving disability terminology in The New York Times. In the piece, Barry examines the use of words like “retard” and “imbecile” when describing intellectual disability, including how those words originally entered popular culture. Read more

USA Today

Court throws out ‘mental retardation’

The U.S. Supreme Court has officially thrown out the term “mental retardation” from its opinions. In a little-noticed move, the court deemed the term outdated and inappropriate last week when deciding the case Hall v. Florida, which struck down Florida’s method for determining whether a death row inmate with an intellectual disability should be executed.

In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “Previous opinions of this court have employed the term ‘mental retardation.’ This opinion uses the term ‘intellectual disability’ to describe the identical phenomenon.” Read more.

The New York Times

Rhode Island Settles Case on Jobs for the Disabled

The U.S. Justice Department and the State of Rhode Island settled a “landmark case” Tuesday that will effectively halt the long-running practice of segregating people with developmental disabilities from the general workforce by placing them in sheltered workshops and adult day programs.

Federal officials said the case provides a “road map” of compliance for the civil rights of an estimated 450,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the country. Read more.

The New York Times

The ‘Boys’ in the Bunkhouse

Reporter Dan Barry paints a Dickensian picture of the story of a few dozen men with intellectual men with intellectual disabilities who were kept as low-paid laborers in an old Iowa school house for 30 years while they worked at a turkey plant. Once the mens’ stories were brought to light, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Henry’s Turkey Service—casting a harsh spotlight on the provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows employers to pay subminimum wages to employees with disabilities. The online component of the story includes photos, images and a documentary, The Men of Atalissa.

Additionally, The Des Moines Register, which helped break the story in 2009, continues to report the most recent developments in the case.