Local woman headed to Austin to testify against use of the “R” word

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:19 PM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Executive Director of Senior Life of Midland Kathleen Kirwan Haynie is headed to Austin tomorrow to testify on behalf of House Bill 446 asking to update the terminology used in Texas legislation.

“To stop using the “r” word known as mental retardation and start using a more appropriate term intellectual disability when referring to people with disabilities,” said Haynie.

Haynie’s late brother Daniel who passed away when he was 46 years old, about 8 years ago had down syndrome and was nonverbal.

Daniel suffered from renal disease for 20 years from a medication he had taken and he had no hope of getting an organ transplant simply because he had down syndrome, so a couple of years ago they passed Daniels Law in Texas making it against the law to discriminate when it comes to organ transplants for people with intellectual disabilities.

Haynie says it’s up to the legislation to show the word is no longer acceptable as it is very hurtful.

“The legislation that is proposed shows me a copy of the old law with that phrase striked out a number of times, there are still a number of organizations in Texas that operate with that in their name and it’s just its time for a better day in Texas when it comes to those with intellectual disabilities,” said Haynie.

Haynie says she is thankful for Rep. Tom Craddick for listening to her on this legislation as she loves Texas but says it’s time for a better day for those with intellectual disabilities.