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Minerva Medicolegale 1999 March;119(1): 51-59

language: Italian

Ethical issues in mental retardation

Ricci P., Prodomo R.


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Some ethical issues of mental retardation are examined. Firstly some different definitions and international classifications of mental retardation are considered. In particular the recent definition of Learning disabilities, substituing the old term of Mental retardation is outlined. Moreover, the proposal of the ''European association for mental health in mental retardation'', is examined in order to recognize the particularity of mental illness in mental retardation. Secondly, the philosophy of ''normalisation'', that influenced several activities and papers at international level, particularly the ''Standard Rules on the equalization of opportunities for person with disabilities'', adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (ONU) in 1993, is examined. Finally some ethical issues are presented. Firstly the ethical problems of prevention, as evaluated in the paper Bioetica per l'infanzia, of Italian National Committee of Bioethics are discussion. Secondly, the concept of rehabilitation as a matter of social integration for persons with disabilities is examined. Finally they stress the concept of autonomy as a value worth to increase by rehabilitation's activities is stressed. From this point of view it is recognized, for example, the right to a sexual life and the problem of the risk-benefits assessment of social program for an independent living.

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