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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.
Disability Justice

The Disability Justice Resource Center

An online resource for everyone interested in learning more about the rights of people with developmental disabilities and protection of those rights.

The Disability Justice Resource Center has been created as an educational resource to increase awareness and understanding of the unique and complex issues related to justice for people with disabilities, particularly people with developmental disabilities. For the legal community, the Resource Center could be used to identify and eliminate biases against people with disabilities, for continuing legal education courses, and by law schools and students. This online resource is divided into several sections:

Justice Denied

Basic Legal Rights

Working with People with Developmental Disabilities in the Justice System

Disability Justice Center Faculty

The Video Index covers a range of topics from an historical perspective, to continuing issues regarding segregation and discrimination, to discussions about courtroom access and accommodations. The themes of equal justice, and human and legal rights are interwoven throughout, and reflect the personal experiences of self advocates as well as members of the legal profession.

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 was a senior partner of Community Resource Alliance and clinical director of the ACT Process in the state of Illinois. The video interview was conducted February 6, 2013. Mike Mayer passed away on November 16, 2015 at his home in North Carolina.

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.

Minnesota's Positive Support Rule was officially published on August 31, 2015 and is available for review at

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 >>

Partners in Policymaking®
Changing Lives. Changing Policies.

Since the Partners program was created in Minnesota in 1987, more than 27,000 self advocates and parents of children with developmental disabilities have graduated nationally and internationally. They comprise a network of trained advocates and leaders, working in partnership with their elected officials to positively change the way people with disabilities live, work, and are educated; and enjoy the benefits of being actively involved in their communities.

On the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this book traces the history of the Partners program. Through a collection of stories and testimonials, Partners graduates share the impact of the program on their lives as well as the many ways that the ADA has resulted in their greater inclusion and integration into the community and society at large.

Download and Read the Book (Accessible PDF when viewed with Adobe Reader)

Changing Lives, Changing Policies
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.

Index of Moments >>.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, Perspectives on the 25th Anniversary

Book Cover - The Americans with Disabilities Act, Perspectives on the 25th Anniversary

On July 26, 2015, the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) was celebrated. A number of events took place in Washington, DC where the ADA was signed into law by President George Herbert Walker Bush 25 years earlier. But a number of other reminders about the significance of this civil rights legislation for-individuals with disabilities were in the making long before the anniversary itself.

In July 2012, the Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities was asked to participate in the ADA Legacy Project. Over a two and one half year time period, a monthly "Moment in Disability History" was posted on the Council website, marking important happenings and recognizing some of the many, many leaders across the country who contributed to the passage of the ADA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, Perspectives on the 25th Anniversary is a compilation of those "Moments," an opportunity to learn about this history, gain a better understanding of the immensity of the efforts that led to July 26, 1990, and continue the work that remains in order to fully realize what was envisioned when the movement began.

PDF Format     ePub Format

The Fight for Civil Rights for People with Disabilities

"The Fight for Civil Rights for People with Disabilities" is a compilation of the "Moments in Disability History," now presented as a free Webinar. This one hour presentation is an accounting of the key events and influential leaders who pursued the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here also are the many personal stories of discrimination, and reflections on the lives of individuals with disabilities who experienced only isolation and segregation but who also envisioned an inclusive society that would recognize them as fully capable and productive first class citizens.

The Fight for Civil Rights for People with Disabilities

The Webinar can be used by anyone – students, professionals, law schools, and CLE instructors as well as self advocates and family members. There is no need to review the entire Webinar in a single sitting; you can review sections as time permits.

Quality and the Baldrige Framework

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities began its quality journey in 1997 using the National Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. The Baldrige Framework, a systems approach to improving a business or organization's performance, is based on a set of core values and concepts that represent the beliefs and behaviors found in high performing businesses and organizations.

Since 1998, Bill Harreld, Quality Culture Institute, has shared his experience and expertise, working with the Council on quality improvement and the application of the Baldrige Criteria to the Council's work. This journey has been a learning experience and, since there's always room for improvement, the learning continues. For businesses that want to better serve their customers and improve their business results, this overview of the Baldrige Framework and Criteria can serve as a step in beginning that process.

Bill Harreld

Quality and the Baldrige Framework Video Presentation >>

April 3, 2015

Council Receives the Hervey B. Wilbur Historic Preservation Award

At the June 1-4, 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD, the Council received the Hervey B. Wilbur Historic Preservation Award for Parallels in Time and Parallels in Time, Part 2. Nearly twenty years ago, the Council decided to embark on a major archiving project that would trace the history of disabilities, the attitudes and treatment of people with developmental disabilities; and the leaders and movements (parent movement, independent living movement, and self advocacy movement) that were instrumental in bringing about dramatic changes in service delivery systems, and the services and supports available for individuals and families. Videos, photos and images, and a vast collection of historical documents , spanning more than 3,500 years are contained in Parallels in Time and Parallels in Time, Part 2.

Hervey B. Wilbur Historic Preservation Award

Council Receives the Star of the North Award

At the Department of Administration's Fall Festival on November 6, 2014, the Council received the Star of the North Award for its ongoing education and training efforts with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through the Partners in Policymaking® program, the "Telling Your Story" app, and the Independence to Inclusion documentary that was co-produced with TPT public television.

Star of the North Award

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 >>

Independence To Inclusion

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

"Independence to Inclusion," a second TPT documentary, was produced with the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities in 2014. Much has changed in terms of available services and supports, and delivery systems. However, stigma and stereotypes against people with developmental disabilities have long outlasted Minnesota's state institutions and still persist today. 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 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."

Midwest Emmys

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 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

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

The Kindle Fire HD version is available free from

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

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

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

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

Professor John McKnight: Community Building

All the people who live in a community can help to create a welcoming environment; one that recognizes the gifts, abilities, and skills of everyone there; and invites everyone to work together to build and strengthen their community.

Professor John McKnight 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

Asset based community development is John McKnight's approach to community organizing. John is a community organizer, an academic and a brilliant story-teller. He believes that everyone has a gift, an ability, a skill to share; and everyone, regardless of how they may identify themselves or what their personal needs may be, can help to make their community better for everyone who lives there.

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

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. #!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

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

©2015 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 
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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.