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 Georgetown University has compiled a collection of historical documents related to the ADA that date back to the 1980s, the decade preceding the milestone signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act by President George H. W.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

Women Leaders of the ADA

Several influential men became regarded as the "grandfathers" or "fathers" of the ADA but, in the battle to obtain support for the ADA, the term "General" is only applied to a single woman, Patrisha Wright. The women presented here, in alphabetical order, represent only a few of the thousands of other women who served in various leadership capacities and were instrumental in securing the passage of the ADA. They all can be considered the "mothers" of the ADA.

Marca Bristo is a pioneer of Chicago's disability rights movement and a former patient of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Bristo helped launch Access Living, one of the country's first ten centers for independent living.

During the 1980s, as a member of the congressionally appointed United States Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities, and President of the National Council on Independent Living, she helped draft and win passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

More about her continuing advocacy can be found at:

Marca Bristow
Marca Bristow

Elizabeth M. Boggs, Ph. D., was a parent, nuclear physicist, President of The Arc US, and member of President John F. Kennedy's President's Panel on MR. She was a nationally recognized leader in influencing the development of federal and state policy relating to best practice services and supports for persons with disabilities.

Dr. Boggs was also a founding member of The Arc US in 1950.  Working with the International League of Societies for the Mentally Handicapped, she was a principal author of the United Nations Declaration of General and Special Rights of the MR. With Justin Dart, Elizabeth Boggs co-chaired the congressionally appointed Task Force on Rights and Empowerment of People with Disabilities, an important impetus to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dr. Eizabeth Boggs
Dr. Eizabeth Boggs

The following links provide an in-depth discussion about Dr. Bogg's knowledge and experience in the field of disabilities. In the first video, she describes the evolution of services for children as a result of the post-World War II "Baby Boom":

In the second video, she describes the impact that President John F. Kennedy had on public policy regarding people with disabilities:

Lisa Carl was the Tacoma, Washington advocate whose eloquent testimony about being denied entry to her local movie theater impressed Congress and the President. Carl attended the signing ceremony where she met President Bush, who shook her hand and said, "Lisa now will always be admitted to her hometown theater."

Chai R. Feldblum served on Pat Wright's team as a full time negotiator and advocate.While working from 1988-1991 as Legislative Counsel to the AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union,

Feldblum was the lead attorney on the team drafting the ADA. She served as chief legal counsel to the disability community during negotiations and passage of the ADA, and was equally instrumental in drafting and negotiating the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. 

In 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Feldblum to serve as Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. More about Chai Feldblum can be found at:

Chai R. Feldblum
Chai R. Feldblum

Nancy Fulco, US Chamber of Commerce attorney, supported the concept of the ADA, but was a constant public critic of provisions that the Chamber felt would be negative for business. Fulco said, "Small businesses simply do not have the money in the bank." She also complained that the wording of the bill was " vague it would encourage an explosion of lawsuits." [Newsday, 9/9/89] 

Her critique and subsequent dialogue with supporters of the ADA contributed to strengthening its language and the resolve to pass the ADA. The following link is to a C-SPAN discussion on August 15, 1989 between Fulco and Justin Dart, and their responses to people who called in to the show:

Despite concerns, the U.S. Chamber worked with the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities to achieve harmonious implementation of the ADA.

Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), was closely involved with the Americans with Disabilities Act throughout all stages of its proposal and passage, and during its implementation. Her involvement continues to this day.

A highly lauded ADA trainer, Marilyn has directed and led numerous in-depth programs on the ADA. She is the principal author of the DREDF publication, The ADA, an Implementation Guide (the "Bluebook"), DREDF's highly respected ADA curriculum. 

Pursuant to DREDF's position opposing the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia, Marilyn has become nationally prominent in that struggle. She has represented the disability community in many debates and dialogues on the subject, authored articles explaining the issue, and worked to defeat assisted suicide legislation.

Marilyn Golden
Marilyn Golden

Judith E. Heumann got her zest for battle from her mother. As a student at Long Island University, she organized students with disabilities to fight for ramped buildings. In 1970, at the age of 22, she started her own disability rights group, Disabled In Action (DIA), and engaged in political protest.

Summoned by Ed Roberts in 1973 to work at the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Berkeley, California, Heumann served as Deputy Director of the CIL from 1975 through 1982 and blended her east coast political activism with the independent living movement. Heumann, along with Roberts, would continue to rewrite the history of people with disabilities. Regulations for the implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was their defining moment.

The late United States Senator Hubert H. Humphrey worked tirelessly to secure passage of legislation that included disability anti-discrimination rights. In 1971, two years before Section 504 was enacted, he attempted to push through such language as an amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act but was encouraged by his colleagues to include his additions in the Rehabilitation Act of 1972 draft. 

Judith E. Heumann
Judith E. Heumann

Opposed to provisions regarding independent living, President Nixon twice vetoed Section 504. While Humphrey's independent living language was removed, his anti-discrimination language, with wording copied straight out of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ruling out discrimination in federal programs, remained and was added to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 was then thought to be no more than a legislative afterthought. However, Nixon signed it.

Roberts and Heumann recognized the significance of the 504 language, as did the Ford administration that stalled the issuance of final regulations. The Carter administration's reluctance to implement the regulations, despite a campaign promise to do so, prompted the "Sign 504" campaign and sit-ins by people with disabilities in Washington, DC and San Francisco. The San Francisco sit-in marked the political coming of age of the disability rights movement. Another civil rights movement was underway. 

Roberts and Heumann are credited for organizing the San Francisco sit-in. Roberts, then California's Director of Rehabilitation, showed up several times and gave his official blessing to the sit-in. Heumann worked with demonstrators to get messages and information to those outside the building, and gave tearful testimony before a congressional hearing triggered by the sit-in.

Listen to an excerpt of Heumann's testimony. Note: Audio is hosted on the Web site and is in Real Media Audio format. Real Player is a free download and is required to play this particular audio.

On April 28, 1977, the Carter administration caved in to the protest and signed the regulations without changes.

Heumann and Roberts recognized Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as the first civil rights statute for persons with disabilities, paving the way for the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Jennifer Keelan became the central media image for the disability movement. Eight year old Keelan, struggling forward on her hands and knees up the steps to the Capitol, would be the one photographic image from the ADA fight to register in the public memory.

Numerous observers questioned ADAPT's tactic of crawling up the Capitol steps and particularly the inclusion of an eight year old. As one of the 60 people who participated in "the Capitol Crawl," Keelan was already experienced. She was first arrested at age seven with her mom, Cynthia, at a demonstration in Montreal. In this video, reflects on her "Capital Crawl" from "It's Our Story":

Jennifer Keelan
Jennifer Keelan

Arlene B. Mayerson has been the Directing Attorney of DREDF since 1981 and played a pivotal role in the drafting of the ADA. In a largely behind-the-scenes capacity, she led a legal team that advised Congress, drafted the legislative language, prepared congressional testimony for others, testified before Congress herself, and prepared educational materials for the national disability community. 

She also filed comments on the ADA regulations for more than 500 disability rights organizations. 

Her intellectual prowess, vision, and tenacity strengthened the law in untold ways and shaped the debate altogether in certain key areas. She is the author of a comprehensive three-volume treatise on the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act Annotated-Legislative History, Regulations & Commentary (Clark Boardman Callaghan, 1994), which sets forth the legislative history and regulations for each provision of the ADA. Follow this link for more about Mayerson, Marilyn Golden, and DREDF:

Arlene B. Mayerson
Arlene B. Mayerson

Sharon Mistler, Executive Director, Endependence Center of Northern Virginia, helped coordinate nationwide ADA advocacy efforts and was the chief organizer of the July 26, 1990 ADA signing ceremony picnic across the street from the White house. She was a central figure in the enactment of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In the late 1980s and early '90s, she helped shape the ADA, educating Congress and the White House about the problems that people with disabilities were experiencing while also dealing with her own battle with cancer. Though she briefed presidents and members of Congress many times, she did not seek the limelight herself, and she never became a household name. Mistler died in 2004.

In this clip, Thomas A Gilhool, attorney in PARC v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, speaks of Mistler's early work as a student at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana.

Sharon Mistler
Sharon Mistler

From 1983, when the little known National Council on Disability (NCD) first began to seriously consider a comprehensive civil rights bill, until after its passage in 1990, Sandra Swift Parrino was the NCD Chairperson. She's also the mother of two sons with disabilities. 

Parrino and the NCD, working through Justin Dart and its staff director, Lex Frieden, began the process of drafting the next disability rights law. In a 1986 report, "Toward Independence," that Frieden and staff member, Robert L. Burgdorff Jr., helped to write, the NCD included a recommendation that "Congress should enact a comprehensive law requiring equal opportunity for people with disabilities."

The NCD suggested, "Such a statute should be packaged as a single comprehensive bill, perhaps under such a title as 'The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1986.'" The administration official that accepted the report was Vice President George H. W. Bush.

Sandra  Swift Parrino
Sandra Swift Parrino

In the days when the administration had few influential proponents, Parrino provided tenacious leadership to create the ADA as a real civil rights law and for its introduction into Congress. In the iconic photo and video of President George H.W. Bush signing the Americans with Disabilities Act, Parrino is the only female and "mother of the ADA" sharing the podium with the "fathers of the ADA" Evan Kemp and Justin Dart.

Toward Independence: An Assessment of Federal Laws and Programs Affecting Persons with Disabilities – and Legislative Recommendations can be found at:

Sandra Parrino's story is available at:

A video of the ADA signing ceremony is available at:

During the late 1980s, when Liz Savage was with the Epilepsy Foundation, she coordinated the Congressional lobbying campaign, building a coalition of over 75 national disability, civil rights, religious and civic organizations, that led to enactment of the ADA. Savage was Pat Wright's strong right hand...woman.

She was "there" when the ADA was organized and was a key contributor to its passage

Liz Savage
Liz Savage

Patrisha Wright was more than a "woman of the ADA". Her leadership during the ADA's passage eventually earned her the nickname, "The General." She was one of a handful of leading strategizers based in Washington, DC and worked especially closely with Ralph Neas, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Wright and Neas collaborated with a number of other leaders who focused on different objectives for passing the ADA, including Washington lobbyists Liz Savage and Paul Marchand; grassroots organizers Justin Dart and Marilyn Golden; and attorneys Arlene Mayerson, Chai Feldblum, and Robert Burgdorf. Wright served as chief of the negotiating team representing Americans with disabilities throughout the ADA legislative process. Justin Dart called her "one of the great Congressional negotiators of American history." 

Wright made her first major inroads into the disability rights movement at the Section 504 sit-in in San Francisco in April 1977. Although she was there largely to serve as a personal assistant to Judy Heumann, Wright began to reveal and develop her negotiating skills in dealing with authorities. This experience led her to become more involved with overall advocacy efforts.

Patrisha Wright
Patrisha Wright

In the late 1970s, she joined DREDF, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, where she worked with Robert Funk, Mary Lou Breslin, and Arlene Mayerson to advocate for disability rights on a national level. Wright was so widely respected in Congress and the White House that her highly individual apparel and colorful vocabulary were safe from reproach. The ADA's success was due in no small part to Wright's strategic leadership.

February 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

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."

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.

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
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. #!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. Theexpectation 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 
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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.