The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
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The ADA Legacy Project

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. Georgetown University has compiled a collection of historical documents related to the ADA that date back to the 1980s, the decade preceding the milestone signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. More...

Moments in Disability History 20

Stories of Discrimination

The path to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was paved by storytellers, not just one or a few, but thousands of storytellers from cities and towns across the nation.

The following is an example, one of over 5,000 stories that were submitted by citizens and organizations across the country demonstrating the range of discrimination issues faced by people with disabilities and the many barriers that limit their ability to actively participate in their communities:

On May 28, 1988, Lisa Carl, a young woman with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair, wanted to see a favorite film at an accessible theater in Tacoma, Washington. The theater manager refused to accept her $1.00 admission and the theater owner, who was called by an advocate on Lisa's behalf, said, "I don't want her in here and I don't have to let her in."1

Jonathan Gottschall, author of The Storytelling Animal, says science backs up the long-held belief that a story is the most powerful means of communicating a message.2

Peter Guber, author of Tell To Win, says that stories can also function as Trojan Horses. The story is actually just a delivery system for the teller's agenda, a trick for sneaking a message into the fortified citadel of the human mind.3

Justin Dart and Yoshiko
Justin Dart and Yoshiko Dart

Justin Dart, widely recognized as the "father of the Americans with Disabilities Act", was aware of the power of storytelling twenty-five years ago. He knew that people with disabilities and their families had powerful stories to tell – stories about discrimination, segregation and inequality; and that these stories could impact change.

Between 1988 and 1989, Justin Dart held 62 public forums in 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam to collect stories of discrimination. His intent was to create a network of national support for passage of the American with Disabilities Act. The forums, however, served as his Trojan Horse for sneaking the message of equal rights for people with disabilities into the minds of the American public. The forums provided an opportunity for people with disabilities and other advocates to publicly disclose and express their frustrations and outrage at discriminatory practices.

A total of 5,000 stories were collected and compiled into a "diary," the Trojan Horse to end discrimination against people with disabilities.


A slide presentation of forum participant photos can be viewed at this link

Photos courtesy Yoshiko Dart

United States Representative Tony Coelho
United States Representative
Tony Coelho

The stories collected by Justin Dart are from a vast spectrum of Americans with disabilities, some of whom became leading advocates on disability rights, including the story of United States Representative Tony Coelho from California:

http://mn.gov/mnddc/parallels/five/5d/5d_html/5d_11vid.html

In addition to Lisa Carl, Justin Dart heard these stories of discrimination from ordinary American citizens:

Interviewed for It's Our Story
Interviewed for It's Our Story
  • The Alabama man who is deaf and was denied a modeling job because of his disability.
  • The Alaskan parent revolt, referred to as the "Diaper Rebellion," in protest of the cessation of Medicaid coverage for diapers for families caring for children with severe and multiple disabilities in their homes.
  • The Massachusetts woman who uses a wheelchair but could not join her neighbors at a preliminary hearing in their lawsuit seeking to prevent the construction of a 29 house subdivision because the second story courtroom was not accessible.
  • The parents of children with Down Syndrome who were successful in getting a Vice President to apologize for describing critics of an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union as "members of the extra chromosome set."
  • The Missouri man who uses a wheelchair, jailed for 95 days because of speeding tickets, but whose wheelchair was taken away because it could not fit through the cell doorway.
  • The Mississippi state employee on a business trip who was charged an extra $10 for requesting an accessible room.
  • The Nebraska University associate professor of communications who was denied a place on a speakers' bureau because he stutters.
  • The Illinois school system that disciplined students with developmental disabilities or mental health issues by locking them inside wooden boxes for up to 30 minutes.

It is fitting and easy enough to celebrate the witness of leading disability advocates and their influence on what became the ADA but it was the thousands of ordinary Americans with disabilities and their families who were prophets of the ADA. Justin Dart's collection of stories and Scott Cooper's It's Our Story remind us that the prophets we most need to remember are hidden in plain sight among us.

Justin's "diary" has become part of It's Our Story, a mixed-media digital history archive that houses the most comprehensive collection of videos, photos and documents regarding life with disability in America. From 2005 to 2013, Scott Cooper drove over 160,000 miles, and interviewed and collected the personal testimonies of more than 1,300 people from over 250 locations for the It's Our Story archive.

It's Our Story is available at: https://sites.google.com/a/pinedafoundation.org/ios/home

It's Our Story

August 1, 2014

Honoring Government Innovation

SGI Award

Congratulations to the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, winner of a 2014 State Government Innovation Award for the "Telling Your Story" policymaking app.

See all the award details at http://sgia.umn.edu.

Independence To Inclusion

A TPT Documentary Produced with the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

Stigma and stereotypes against people with developmental disabilities have long outlasted Minnesota's state institutions. How will inclusion in schools, the workplace, and the community affect the lives of thousands of Minnesotans with developmental disabilities? (View version with closed captioning)
Original Broadcast: 04/15/2014. Length: 26 minutes, 40 seconds.

The Disability Justice Resource Center is an online collection of statutes, regulations, case law, and commentaries intended to help the legal community better understand the many complex justice related issues for people with disabilities, particularly individuals with developmental disabilities.

NEW!  The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Upper Midwest chapter, has just announced the 2014 Upper Midwest Regional nominees. The TPT documentary, Independence to Inclusion, is nominated under "Documentaries – Cultural." http://midwestemmys.org/

Midwest Emmys

The Convergence of Disability Law and Policy: Core Concepts, Ethical Communities, and the Notion of Dignity

Interview with Rud Turnbull
Produced by Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

Rud Turnbull

In writing a model law, in implementing the law and regulations, in discussing and explaining the intended effect and the actual effect of statutes, in confronting law and policy, in designing and delivering programs and services, there are people involved, there are lives that are affected. So the very first thing that needs to be talked about is personhood.

Throughout Rud Turnbull's teachings and writings about the 18 core concepts of disability policy, and as those concepts relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act, IDEA and its predecessors, assistive technology, family support, and aversive therapies, he speaks about relationships – those that are created and those that are challenged when people are forced to confront each other.

In all of his research on United State Supreme Court decisions and federal laws, Rud Turnbull finds one ethical principle that is interwoven throughout those decisions and statutes – the notion of dignity.

Bio: Rud Turnbull, Distinguished Professor in Special Education and Courtesy Professor of Law, University of Kansas, is the Co-founder and Co-director of the Beach Center on Disability. He has authored more than 300 peer reviewed books, articles, chapters, and monographs. He has served as an officer of nearly all major national disability organizations, including AIDD, The Arc, and TASH; as well as chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Law, and Trustee and Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

Watch Interview >>

April 16, 2014

Regular Lives for Families with Children with Disabilities

Interview with Kathie Snow

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.

Read More and Watch Interview >>

November 7, 2013

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 Top Ten Questions About Inclusive Education

The video was recorded on June 5, 2013.

Dr. Patrick Schwarz

July 15, 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.

Mike Mayer

Mike Mayer

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.

Derrick Dufresne

The History and Evolution of Behavioral Approaches and Positive Behavioral Interventions

Derrick Dufresne

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

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.

Complete Positive Behavioral Supports Section >>

"Telling Your Story"

App Available Now for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Amazon Kindle Fire

iPad App Telling Your Story

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.

The iPad version of the app is available free at the iTunes Store.

The iPhone version of the app is also available free at the iTunes Store.

The Kindle Fire HD version is available free from Amazon.com

NEW: The Android tablet version is available free from Google Play

NEW: The Android phone version is available free from Google Play

July 13, 2013, updated July 1, 2014

Autism 5-Point Scale EP App Receives Digital Government Achievement Award

iPad App Telling Your Story

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.

Department of Administration Press Release
DGAA announcement
Free download at the iTunes Store

August 24, 2012

2012 MHT Tekne Awards

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.

Read the complete press release (PDF)

September 19, 2012

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.

Produced by The Wallace Group. The Wallace Group, a media and public relations firm in Eagan, Minnesota, has received a national Communicator Award for their video production, "The Jobs Challenge for People with Disabilities."

Production of this video was financed in part by Grant Number G1101MNBS24 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities under provisions of Public Law 106-402. Content of this video does not necessarily reflect he position or policy of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities or the Minnesota Department of Administration.

Job Challenge
Communicator Award

June 1, 2012

Ed Roberts, Activist

Ed Roberts

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.

January 12, 2012, updated March 2, 2012, May 11, 2012 and February 4, 2014

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.

Here he brings this concept to life and talks about the key elements of asset based community development through his wit and the art of storytelling.

John McKnight

Presentation conducted February 17, 2012
Updated May 25, 2012


Capacity Building Beyond Community Services

Introduction by Ed Preneta, Retired Director, Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities

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...

Video Interview: Capacity Building Beyond Community Services

John McKnight

Videotaped Interview: August 3, 2011


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.

Updated September 15, 2011

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.

Flash (PowerPoint)   PDF   Text Only

April 3, 2012

The Evolution of the Quality of Care in Developmental Disabilities

Jim Conroy

Jim Conroy

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 video interview was conducted December 7, 2011.

New: Quality – Standards, Values, Vision: A Paper by Bruce Kappel (April 18, 2013)

January 25, 2012

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.

Pamela HoopesRoberta OpheimRoberta BlomsterMary Raasch

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.

March 2, 2012

Ethical Issues, End of Life Conversations and Developmental Disabilities

Honoring Choices

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.

http://honoringchoices.org/videostories/ #!developmental disabilities

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

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.


Carlton Sherwood

CNN Special Assignment: "Oklahoma Infanticide": A three part series by Carlton Sherwood describes the lack of medical treatment for babies born with spina bifida in Oklahoma in 1984.

Part One (11:42)   Part Two (12:26)   Part Three (12:54)

August 5, 2011

The Evolution of Disability Rights Litigation (and some stories)

David Ferleger

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.

David Ferleger on Disability Rights Litigation >>

October 21, 2011

Institutions to Independence

"Institutions to Independence" is a 30 minute documentary produced by TPT (public television) in cooperation with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, the law firm of Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Government Training Services. This documentary tells the story of services in Minnesota from the 1860s into the 21st Century through the telling of stories of people with developmental disabilities, families, and professionals.

Institutions to Independence
Know Your Rights

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.

Visit the Institutions to Independence section for interviews about rights and social justice issues >>

January 20,2012

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.

Meet the WOW People

June 29, 2011

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)

The Business Results for FFY 2013 are now available: Slides  PDF  Text (11/22/13)

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)

©2014 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax:651.297.7200 
Email: admin.dd@state.mn.us   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.