The past few decades have seen a good deal of consciousness-raising about illnesses and defects that once mystified and even frightened much of society. And yet many able-bodied people are still made uneasy by certain of these disabilities -- mental retardation, for one.
Earlier this month, the Columbia Council approved a program that should help bridge the gap between retarded citizens and the rest of the community. This action, for which the council is to be commended, is a small but important step toward erasing some of the remaining misconceptions about retardation. Congratulations to the Columbia Association, too, for sponsoring the project.
The greatest credit, however, belongs to officials of the Howard County Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC), who devised the program with their clients in mind. The aim of the program is to send supervised groups of six to eight ARC clients on regular visits to shopping malls, health clubs and recreational facilities in town. Some might also take community service jobs, earning wages or credit toward membership at facilities operated by the Columbia Association.