The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Promoting Independence, Productivity, Self-Determination, Integration and Inclusion
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The Developmental Disabilities Assistance
and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act)

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Allan Bergman on the DD Act

Allan Bergman
Allan Bergman

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Act, the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities invited Allan Bergman to share his views on the evolution and future of the federal law. Bergman is a nationally known consultant on developmental disabilities issues and a former administrator of leading nonprofit organizations. He has been a keynote speaker in all 50 states, Canada, Australia and Israel.

This perspective on the historical evolution of the elements that created today’s policy and regulatory framework on developmental disabilities can be viewed in its entirety, or by individual chapters related to key questions.

The views expressed belong to the speaker and are not necessarily those of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities or the Minnesota Department of Administration.
(Total time: 1:31:04)

Q1: What led President Kennedy to appoint the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation in 1961 and what did it accomplish? (6:12)

Q2: The Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act was passed in 1963. What did this do? (2:16)

Q3: How did the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1970 originate? (3:21)

Q4: What was the purpose and intent of the DD Act of 1970? (2:40)

Q5: Was the original purpose achieved? (2:11)

Q6: Why was the Protection & Advocacy System added to the DD Act when it was reauthorized in 1975? (4:37)

Q7: The definition of the term "developmental disabilities" has changed over time from a list of diagnostic categories to a functional definition. How has this evolved and what does it mean today? (9:30)

Q8: What are the seven functional limitations (1:04)

Q9: The 1984 reauthorization of the DD Act included an amendment for specific program goals. What are they and how have those goals evolved over the years? (4:45)

Q10: The 1987 reauthorization of the DD Act made clear that the term "developmental disabilities" included more than intellectual disabilities. How did this happen and what type of study did the new law mandate for the Councils? (5:26)

Q11: During the past 40 years the roles of the Councils on Developmental Disabilities have undergone significant changes in statute. Tell us about the changes and current focus. (10:03)

Q12: What are some of the best results of the DD Act? A. Councils? B. University Centers of Excellence? C. Protection and Advocacy Systems? D. Projects of National Significance? (19:06)


Q13: Is the DD Act still necessary? If so, when it is reauthorized in the future, what are some changes that you and other advocates believe are essential in the 21st century? (19:53)

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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.