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 Georgetown University has compiled a collection of historical documents related to the ADA that date back to the 1980s, the decade preceding the milestone signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President George H. W.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 27

A Magna Carta and the Ides of March to the ADA

Protests and a Magna Carta marked the beginning and the end of the two year run-up to the passage of the ADA. Two history-making protests, the Ides of March to the ADA, occurred in the month of March – the Gallaudet student protest in March 1988 and the "Crawl Up" the Capitol steps in March 1990.

The Gallaudet protest marked the end of the public perception of people with disabilities as objects of pity and the beginning of a new public consciousness regarding people with disabilities. The "Capitol Crawl" marked the transition from a system of paternalistic care by well-meaning but insensitive people to viewing disability as a civil rights issue.

The Gallaudet Student Protest

The 1988 week-long protest by deaf students at Gallaudet University, calling for the appointment of a deaf university President, was a defining moment for the disability rights movement. This demonstration gave Americans a new rights consciousness about disability that grew out of a growing sense of oppression, gave voice to anger bottled up over years of individuals being seen as pitiful and sick, and was reflected in journalism.

According to a study by Beth Haller of Temple University, post-Gallaudet journalism focused less on "supercrips" and sad cases and shifted attention to stories using the words "disability" and rights in the same paragraph. Law makers quickly made the connection. The ADA was introduced two months after the Gallaudet protest. Lex Frieden, then of the National Council on the Handicapped said, "It would not have happened without Gallaudet raising people's consciousness."

It was a historical irony that deaf students, equating disability with civil rights, gave such a boost to the ADA movement when so many people who are deaf regard deafness as a culture but not as a disability.

The significance of the "Deaf President Now" movement at Gallaudet University on the disability rights movement can be found at: http://www.gallaudet.edu/dpn_home/issues/history_behind_dpn.html

Gallaudet Student Protest
 Gallaudet Student Protest

A Magna Carta

By March 1990, the ADA had already passed the Senate and had bipartisan Congressional support. More than 8,500 citizens with disabilities, their advocates and organizations, signed a petition urging prompt approval by the House of Representatives and contributed funds for the publication of the petition on Wednesday, February 7, 1990 in The Washington Post.

In a sense, this petition, a creative and effective idea by the late Justin Dart, was a Magna Carta. Justin's wife, Yoshiko, recalled that it was very expensive to buy a full page ad but Justin convinced The Washington Post sales department to charge only half price.

Yoshiko solicited donations from around the country, kept up with hundreds of incoming contribution checks from $2, $5, and $10, to $25; sorting and depositing them in their local bank, and entering donors' names without a modern computer system. She said Senator Tom Harkin was impressed by the ad and instructed his aide to find out who organized it. The aide called the telephone number listed in the bottom of the ad.

One week later, on February 14, 1990, Justin had an opportunity to see President Bush in the Oval Office and wanted to make sure the President would see the actual ad. So he asked one of Yoshiko's daughters to write this message:

"Mr. President, Happy Valentine's! We love you!"

with red marker on the full page. He presented it to the President, who then smiled.

President Bush with Justin Dart February 14, 1990
President Bush with Justin Dart
February 14, 1990

The Capitol Crawl

When the ADA stalled in the House Committee on Public Works and Transportation (now the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure), people within the disability community became alarmed. About 475 individuals, many in wheelchairs, gathered on the sidewalk in front of the White House to launch the "Wheels of Justice Campaign". Sixty protesters with disabilities "cast aside their wheelchairs, crutches and walkers to crawl or drag themselves, step by step, up the 78 marble stairs of the Capitol's West Front.

This protest, that came to be known as the "Capitol Crawl", was intended to openly illustrate the struggles that people in the disabilities communities faced and spurred Congress to pass the ADA. About 1,000 other protesters watched as members of ADAPT (Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit, now known only as ADAPT) threw themselves out of their chairs and began their crawl. Together, the march and the crawl comprised one of the largest disability direct actions to date.

The late Michael Winter, former Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living, contributed his reflections on the "Capitol Crawl" to ADAPT's 25th Anniversary "I Was There Series" of firsthand accounts:

"Some people may have thought it was undignified for people in wheelchairs to crawl in that manner, but I felt that it was necessary to show the country what kinds of things people with disabilities have to face on a day-to-day basis. We had to be willing to fight for what we believed in."

"Capitol Crawl" March 12, 1990
  "Capitol Crawl" March 12, 1990

Comments by Michael Winter and Jennifer Keelan about the "Capitol Crawl" are available at http://www.historybyzim.com/2013/09/capitol-crawl-americans-with-disabilities-act-of-1990/

March 1, 2015

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.

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Upper Midwest chapter, announced the 2014 Upper Midwest Regional nominees and 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 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.

Kathie Snow

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.

PowerPoint: "Rule 40 A Brief Summary of Issues and Options."

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
The Android tablet version is available free from Google Play
The Android phone version is available free from Google Play

Important Note: The recent Apple update to iOS 8 has caused crashing issues in the iPhone and iPad version of the apps. If you have these apps installed and have updated your device to iOS 8, we are aware of the issues and will be issuing an update soon. Users of iOS 7 and earlier may continue to use the app with no problems. A separate notice will be issued when the iOS 8 compatible update is available at the iTunes App Store.

July 13, 2013, updated July 1, 2014, September 30, 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.

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 2015 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. (2/24/15)

The Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) has issued its 2014 Annual Report. (2/3/15)

The Council's key business results for FFY 2014 (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014) are available for review: Slides PDF Text (12/04/14)

Karen Loven is the first self advocate in the United States to serve as a faculty member for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses. At The Arc Minnesota 2014 Awards Celebration on Saturday, November 15, 2014, Karen received the Bill Sackter Citizenship Award. In co-presentations with United States District Court Judge Donovan Frank, Karen quickly does away with stereotypes that continue to surround individuals with developmental disabilities – changing perceptions, thinking, and attitudes. (11/18/2014)

Karen Loven and Judge Donovan Frank
Ambassadors for Respect

Congratulations to the Ambassadors for Respect, recipients of The Arc Minnesota Community Innovator Award, for the Anti-bullying Program they have carried out with 4th grade elementary school students in the North St. Paul and While Bear Lake school districts. (11/18/2014)

Ambassadors for Respect
Ambassadors for Respect
Minnesota Special Education Experience Study 2014

Minnesota Special Education Experience Study 2014

In followup to the K-12 Education Study for Students with Developmental Disabilities that MarketResponse International conducted in 2013, and based on the insights gained from that study, the Minnesota Special Education Experience Study was conducted in 2014. This study was done in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education, Special Education Division. The purpose of this recent study was to obtain benchmark measures of overall quality and satisfaction levels of the special education experience from the perspective of parents and the students themselves. The results show satisfaction levels by grade level and geographic location, quality drivers of the education experience, and awareness of and attitudes about Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. (9/5/2014)

View as Slides     View as PDF*

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.