The ADA Legacy Project celebrates the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on disability rights, and honors the contributions of individuals with disabilities and their allies who persevered in securing the passage of this landmark civil rights legislation. More...
Towards Independence: Powerful Words
Two papers with nearly identical titles, written more than 15 years apart in different parts of the world, fueled a new era in disability politics focused not only on changing social attitudes towards people with disabilities but also on creating new rights.
Dr. Bengt Nirje
In 1969, Dr. Bengt Nirje, Director of what is now the Swedish National Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability, delivered a paper entitled "Towards Independence" at the 11th World Congress of the International Society for Rehabilitation of the Disabled in Dublin, Ireland. "Towards Independence" chronicled developments in the self-advocacy movement in Sweden and spurred worldwide new social policy based on the normalization principle and "dignity of risk". Here are excerpts from that paper: http://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/seven/7b/2.html
In 1986, the National Council on Disability (NCD) released a study entitled "Toward Independence." This study highlighted discriminatory programs, practices, and policies that promoted and maintained the dependency of people with disabilities on government programs and society's charity. Congress further studied the status of individuals with disabilities and found that discrimination against people with disabilities persisted in all aspects of American society.
When Dr. Nirje translated the normalization principle into English and published the concept in the 1969 President's Report, it had a tremendous impact on American professionals. Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger at Syracuse University introduced the practice of normalization to the United States in the 1970s. Dr. Bengt Nirje developed the normalization principle in the 1960s. The principle reflects the regular rhythm of the day and the regular routine of life. It's useful with all age groups, and adaptable to social changes and individual development. It means that the choices, wishes, and desires of the individual are considered and respected. Dr. Nirje speaks here about the principle itself and its application to all aspects of life.
In 1983, he created social role valorization (SRV), a later generation of normalization, that promoted the importance of socially valued roles for people with disabilities. Through SRV, Dr. Wolfensberger described the role perceptions of people with disabilities and how words and images used in describing people with disabilities resulted in the suppression of legal, civil and human rights.
A subsequent series of reports in the 1970s from the Center for Human Policy at Syracuse University advanced normalization and self-advocacy. In 1976, the Center published a report on the theory and practice of "handicapism", calling it a concept similar to racism and sexism. The report described how "handicapism" promoted myth, prejudice and stereotyping of people with disabilities. A slide show and transcript of the Handicapism report is available at http://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels2/one/sidebar/Handicapism.html
In 1979, under the leadership of the late Burton Blatt, the Center released a followup to this report entitledThe Community Imperative: A refutation of all arguments in support of institutionalizing anybody because of a developmental disability. The Community Imperative declared that all people have fundamental moral and constitutional rights, and that these rights must not be abrogated merely because a person has a disability. The Community Imperative is available for review at: http://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels2/pdf/70s/79/79-ctr-human-policy-comm-imp.pdf
In "Towards Independence," the NCD identified, for the United States Congress, the discrimination in public policy that was experienced by people with disabilities. Less than 2 years later, in January 1987, the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities published A New Way Of Thinking, a monograph that articulated a new way of thinking about public policy and people with disabilities: people living in real homes, learning in regular schools and working in real jobs. This "new way of thinking" encouraged exploring new service strategies.
But, as Madeleine Will, herself a parent and at that time Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, summarized, the new policies and services had not yet tipped the balance. In 1984, in words anticipating the Americans with Disabilities Act, she said, "Citizens with developmental disabilities want the same opportunities and ought to have the same opportunities as other members of the community – not because it is cost effective, even though it is, and not because it is prudent, even though it is. They should have the same opportunities because they deserve it."
The video, A New Way Of Thinking, sent the message that people with disabilities "have the right to live, to work and... to know the dignity to which every human being is entitled." This video is available for review at: http://www.mnddc.org/parallels2/one/video/video64-newway.html
The words of Bengt Nirje and the NCD were a powerful influence on American public policy. Nirje's "Towards Independence" in 1969 and the NCD's "Toward Independence"" in 1985, fostered by years of work by disability activists, supporters, and concerned citizens referred to as "a hidden army for civil rights" by Joe Shapiro, led to the writing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.
Please Note: The language and terminology that appear throughout this month's episode were not only considered acceptable at the time but have their origins in another country. These resources are also historical, and the language and terminology used is retained due to the historical context as well.
Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities: Parallels In Time
VII. The Self-Advocacy Movement 1980s – Present
B. Origins of the Self-Adv,cacy Movement, Page 1
The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities: Parallels In Time II: 1950-2005: A Place To Call Home
The Development of Supports for Having A Home In The Community. Page 43
The Development of Supports for Having A Home In The Community. Page 64
Minnesota's Olmstead Plan
has been released and is available for review at
http://www.dhs.state.mn.us/ main/ groups/ olmstead/ documents/ pub/ dhs16_180147.pdf
Read the Press Release from the Office of Governor Mark Dayton:
Regular Lives for Families with Children with Disabilities
Interview with Kathie Snow
Kathie Snow is an author, public speaker, trainer, and consultant. Her interest in disability issues was born in 1987 with the birth of her son, Benjamin, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at four months. Before that, she had no knowledge or experience in the disability field. Like most parents, she was bewildered and somewhat frightened; and, like most parents, she eagerly entered the world of disability services and interventions. She listened to what doctors recommended, she went along with all of the therapies.
She was convinced that if some was good, then more was better. Home became a therapy clinic. The professionals told her what a great mom she was (presumably because she was doing what they told her to do!!!)... but then, when she started saying "no" to "more therapy," she became a non-compliant parent.
The third edition of Kathie's book, Disability is Natural, Revolutionary Common Sense for Raising Successful Children with Disabilities, has just recently been released.
The Top Questions Asked About Inclusive Education
Dr. Patrick Schwarz
Dr. Patrick Schwarz, Creative Culture Consulting LLC., is a dynamic and engaging motivational speaker and leader in Inclusive Education, Special Education, General Education, Educational Leadership and Human Services. Patrick is a professor at National-Louis University in Chicago; and has authored several books with Paula Kluth - From Disability to Possibility, You're Welcome, Just Give Him the Whale, and Pedro's Whale. His newest book is From Possibility to Success.
The video was recorded on June 5, 2013.
Positive Behavioral Supports
The Jensen settlement agreement called for a review of best practices related to positive support strategies. A Positive Behavioral Supports section has been created, dedicated to the class members of the Jensen Settlement Agreement.
The work of the Rule 40 committee began with a review paper of all state rules and regulations governing aversive procedures written by Michael Mayer. On February 6, 2013, Michael Mayer visited the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities and was interviewed.
Mike Mayer is a senior partner of Community Resource Alliance. He is also the clinical director of the ACT Process in the state of Illinois.
The History and Evolution of Behavioral Approaches and Positive Behavioral Interventions
Derrick Dufresne is the founder and a Senior Partner of Community Resource Associates, Inc. (CRA), a training and management consulting firm that is dedicated to promoting full community inclusion for individuals with disabilities. Video interview conducted February 1, 2012
Respect and Dignity Practices Statement (June 20, 2013) is a result of the Jensen Settlement Agreement and the work of the Rule 40 Advisory Committee to modernize Rule 40 around best practices regarding positive behavioral supports.
The article, Human Services Restraint: Its Past and Future, authored by David Ferleger, traces this history and discusses how the past has influenced contemporary practices.
Dr. Herbert Lovett
Dr. Herbert Lovett promoted inclusive supports and equal access in the areas of education, employment, housing, and human rights for children and adults with disabilities. This interview was conducted with Larry Ringer, Minnesota Disability Law Center, in 1987.
"Telling Your Story"
App Available Now for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Amazon Kindle Fire
Compose and practice your personal story to present to elected public officials or other policymakers. Learn the best ways to introduce yourself and talk about your issue, record and practice your story, and include a photo if you would like.
Autism 5-Point Scale EP App Receives Digital Government Achievement Award
The Autism 5-Point Scale EP app, designed and developed as an emergency planning and preparedness tool for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, has received a Digital Government Achievement Award (DGAA), in the Government-to-citizen State Government category. This app can help facilitate communications and interactions between individuals with ASD and first responders in a broad range of emergency situations.
We extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to the Autism Society of Minnesota for their leadership with the Emergency Planning and Preparedness Project that included the development of this app.
The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities has been named a 2012 Tekne Award finalist by the Minnesota High Tech Association for the Autism 5-Point Scale EP app. The finalist nomination is in the Mobile & Communication Technologies Award category that recognizes innovation in mobile applications and electronic communications.
The Jobs Challenge for People With Disabilities
Competitive wages, direct employment, in Minnesota. Individuals with developmental disabilities are being directly employed in a broad range of business fields and a wide range of positions in both public and private sectors. In all instances, the experiences of employees and employers have been overwhelmingly positive – employees are in jobs of their choosing with full benefits; and the businesses are thriving, recognizing the contributions that a truly diversified workforce can bring to their customers.
Ed Roberts, Activist
Ed Roberts was a pioneering leader of the disability rights movement. Ed declared that people with disabilities are fully human; that they have a right and a responsibility to take control of their own lives, to help build a new culture in which they and all people participate fully in the leadership, the labor, and the fruits of society. Ed Roberts Day was Monday, January 23, 2012.
Professor John McKnight: Community Building
Slideshow: There are many approaches to community organizing. The heart and soul of John McKnight's approach are all of the people who live in a community, and the wealth of their combined gifts, abilities, and skills that create a welcoming and wholly inclusive environment.
Capacity Building Beyond Community Services
Anyone interested in successfully including people on the margins into neighborhood and community life needs to listen to John McKnight and study asset based community development. John is a community organizer, an academic and a brilliant story-teller...
A collection of John McKnight's papers, where he further explains the building blocks and assets that make for an inclusive community, can be found at John McKnight Resources and Documents.
1962/2012 Minnesota Survey of Attitudes Regarding Developmental Disabilities
Perceptions, awareness, beliefs, and attitudes about people with developmental disabilities have changed substantially in the past 50 years. MarketResponse International has just completed a survey of the general population in Minnesota that shows these marked shifts.
The Evolution of the Quality of Care in Developmental Disabilities
Jim Conroy is the founder and President of the Center for Outcome Analysis, Inc., a non-profit firm that is devoted to evaluation, research, training, and policy analysis on quality of life issues in the developmental disabilities field. The Center is founded on the principle that service agencies should be guided by measurable quality of life outcomes regarding the services and supports received by individuals with developmental disabilities.
The METO Lawsuit and Jensen Settlement Agreement
At the December 1, 2011 Fairness Hearing before United States District Court Judge Donovan Frank, the METO Settlement Agreement was accepted. Judge Frank issued the official Order on December 5, 2011. In this first videotaped interview with Shamus O'Meara, counsel for the Plaintiffs in the METO class action lawsuit, he talks about his decision to take the case, the legal issues involved, and some of the critical aspects of the Settlement Agreement, including the focus on staff training around person centered planning, and the establishment of both an Olmstead Committee and Rule 40 Committee.
Following the Fairness Hearing, Shamus O'Meara was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). A related article was featured on MPR's "All Things Considered" on December 1, 2011.
Interviews about the METO Lawsuit and Agreement were conducted with Shamus O'Meara, Counsel for the Plaintiff; Steve Larson, The Arc Minnesota; Pamela Hoopes, Minnesota Disability Law Center; Roberta Opheim, Ombudsman Office for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities; and Self Advocates.
Ethical Issues, End of Life Conversations and Developmental Disabilities
Honoring Choices is a collection of stories by ordinary people about end of life conversations with family and friends, sharing perspectives from personal and professional lives.
The Council thanks Bill Hanley and Pam Palan for inviting our participation in this important initiative. Please note: These stories are not closed captioned.
Congratulations to Twin Cities Public Television, recipients of the 2012 "Making a Difference" Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Upper Midwest Chapter for Honoring Choices Minnesota, a documentary about end of life conversations. The documentary was produced in partnership with the Twin Cities Medical Society. The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities worked with TPT in this public education effort and participated in 54 video stories that shared the perspectives of individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, and allies.
Thinking Ahead: Thank you to the California Department of Developmental Services for creating resource materials in plain language that can be used with self advocates to discuss end of life issues. This guide can be useful in assuring that self advocates express preferences about end of life decisions. Please note: this is not a legal document.
The Evolution of Disability Rights Litigation (and some stories)
David Ferleger, J.D. of Philadelphia, PA, has a national law and consulting practice, specializing in public interest, civil rights and disability law. He has litigated landmark disability cases, argued five times before the Supreme Court of the United States, assisted the courts, represented individuals and government agencies, taught law school, and has written, lectured and consulted nationally.
Institutions to Independence
In addition to the documentary, the Minnesota Governor's Council worked with TPT to create "Know Your Rights", an Illustrated Essay by David Gillette regarding the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities.
Meet the Future Face of Employment
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Technology Fields
Meet the Future Face of Employment, offers a broad range of information and resources to help anyone interested in supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorder to be employed in technology fields.
News and Information
FFY 2014 Training Conferences Cosponsorship Funds Awarded: Eleven Minnesota organizations were recently awarded cosponsorship funds for training conferences. The conferences provide opportunities for participants to learn about best practices, and develop or strengthen their personal leadership skills. The expectation is that these training experiences will result in increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and their families. (2/17/14)
The Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) has issued its 2013 Annual Report. (1/6/14)
On January 28, 2013, Governor Mark Dayton issued an Executive Order creating a 10 member Governor appointed Sub-Cabinet to "promptly develop and implement a comprehensive Minnesota Olmstead Plan" that reflects the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and is consistent with the Olmstead decision that interpreted Title II of the ADA. Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon will chair the Sub-Cabinet. (1/29/13)