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.

An Unfinished Journey:

Civil Rights for People with Developmental Disabilities and the Role of the Federal Courts

 

On March 19, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota and its Public Outreach Committee, the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Minnesota Disability Bar Association, and MSS hosted a public outreach effort that debuted a new series of 21 educational banners focused on disability rights in Minnesota.

View all banners »

View the PDF of All Banners »

An Unfinished Journey Civil Rights for People with Developmental Disabilities and the Role of the Federal Courts

In Their Own Words

From Treat People Like People: Listen to members within the disability community share their stories, experiences, and thoughts about how we can all work to treat people with respect and dignity.

Meet Josh: Watch Josh's story and learn how he engages with the world.

Meet Debbi: Watch Debbi share about the importance of not labeling people.

Meet Jon: Learn how Jon supports and cares for his brother, Josh.

(02/20/24)

Inclusion Mobile Museum

Inclusion Mobile Museum

A traveling exhibit that celebrates the journey from 1900 to the present to increase the independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion of Minnesotans with developmental disabilities and their families.

Inclusion offers visitors a deeper understanding and perspective as Minnesotans with developmental disabilities work towards greater inclusion. Through photos and time, learn about:

  • Society's perception and treatment of people with developmental disabilities for the past century
  • The important role of parents of children with developmental disabilities and self advocates in the pursuit of better living conditions, educational rights, and employment opportunities.
  • The Partners in Policymaking® program and the self-advocacy movement
  • Key legal actions and decisions that work to ensure the Constitutional rights of people with developmental disabilities
  • What can be done to support people with developmental disabilities to enjoy the same rights as everyone

Upcoming locations:

February

Week of Feb. 4th: Southeastern MN Center for Independent Living, Inc. (SEMCIL) – (3825 Superior Dr NW Rochester, MN 55901)

Week of: Feb 11th: nVent Corp HQ – 1665 Utica Ave Suite 700 SLP MN 55416 West End

Week of: Feb 18th: nVent – Outreach location: 2100 Hoffman Way | Anoka, MN 55303

Week of: Feb. 25th: Tonkawa – In Rotunda of the Carlson Towers, 601/701 Carlson Parkway, Minnetonka, MN  55305)

March

Special Event Sat. March 2nd: 2024 Arc Gala – 225 S Third Ave South: Ballroom of The Renaissance Depot Minneapolis

Week of March 3rd: Midwest Special Services (MSS) 900 Ocean Stree St Paul

Week of March 10th: Anoka County Historical Society – 2135 Third Ave North Anoka, MN 55303

Week of March 17th: Anoka County Historical Society – 2135 Third Ave North Anoka, MN 55303

Week of March 24th: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis – 90 Hennepin Ave Mpls, MN 55401

April

Week of April 1st: Edina High School – EHS 6754 Valley View Road, Edina, MN 55439

Week of April 7th: Edina High School – EHS 6754 Valley View Road, Edina, MN 55439

Week of April 14th: Maple Grove High School – 9800 Fernbook Lane North, MG, Mn 55369

Week of April 21st: Maple Grove High School - 9800 Fernbook Lane North, MG, Mn 55369

Week of April 28th: Mounds View High School – 1900 Lake Valentine Rd Arden Hills 55112 

May

Week of May 5th: Udac – 4724 Mike Colalillo Drive Duluth, MN 55807

Week of May 12th: Udac – 4724 Mike Colalillo Drive Duluth, MN 55807

Week of May 19th: OPEN

Week of May 26th: OPEN

June

Week of June 2nd: OPEN

Week of June 9th: Wacosa – 310 Sundial Drive Waite Park, MN 56387

Week of June 16th: Wacosa – 310 Sundial Drive Waite Park, MN 56387

Week of June 23rd: OPEN

Download the flier (PDF), and watch for additional dates and information.

(01/01/24)

The One Minnesota Baseline Quantitative Survey

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce the results from a baseline study of intersectionality and the promise of One Minnesota.

Intersectionality Study Research Report

This survey was completed in September 2023 and included a total of 593 respondents divided into four groups by race and ethnicity and disability status. Individuals with disabilities from racial and ethnic communities are more likely to report negative experiences in public situations; are less likely than all other groups to feel welcomed in public serving businesses; and more likely to experience negative treatment in financial dealings. White individuals with disabilities are most likely to feel unfair treatment, barriers, and restrictions from privileges; are more likely to report negative experiences in dealing with healthcare and health insurance; and give the lowest rating to the One Minnesota promise of any group.

PDF   Word PDF   Text

(11/01/23)

Minnesota Waiver Bill of Rights Training (245D.04)

Minnesota's Olmstead Plan was developed to ensure that people with disabilities are living, learning, working, and enjoying life in the most integrated setting. Prevention of Abuse and Neglect is one of the topics included in the comprehensive Olmstead Plan. Prevention begins with educating people with disabilities, their families, mandated reporters and the general public about how to identify and report abuse. Abuse can be prevented by showing respect and dignity to everyone.

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities co-created, with people with disabilities, a series of skits illustrating the Bill of Rights for Individuals Receiving Waiver Services.

See Minnesota Statute 245D (Sec. 245D.04 MN Statutes) for details.

Some of these rights are similar to those described in the Supervised Living Facilities Bill of Rights Training – MN Dept. of Health

Dupree Edwards, hip hop artist and Council member, offers his perspective about the Bill of Rights to introduce the video series.

The Right to Freedom from Maltreatment

This video shows that people have the right to freedom from maltreatment. In other words, the right to live without abuse and the right to live without neglect. In this video you will see examples of maltreatment, such as emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is a regular pattern of verbal offenses, threatening, bullying, and constant criticism, as well as intimidation, and shaming. It may include excessive teasing, or name-calling.

The Right to Communication Privacy

You have the right to communicate privately with other people in writing, by telephone, and in person if you choose. You also have the right to come and go from your home. Staff should not open your mail. You have the right to write letters and send them without anyone reading or opening them. You also have the right to make and receive phone calls privately.

View all segments of the 245D Bill of Rights Training »

Bending the Arc of Disability History Toward Rights, Freedom, Social Justice, and Belonging

Presented by Allan Bergman

Alan Bergman

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to present Allan Bergman offering a video training series "Bending the Arc of Disability History Toward Rights and Freedom". For over 6 ½ hours Mr. Bergman covers more than two centuries of progress in disability history and policy. The series is divided into nine sections and allows the user to browse by topic. The nine sections are:

View Allan Bergman's presentation on Disability History »

(6/27/23)

2023 Minnesota Employment Opportunities Study

Partners Posters

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to share its most recently completed Employment Opportunities Study. This study provides insights regarding the experiences and perceptions of employers in Minnesota concerning employing people with disabilities.

Key findings from the random survey of 201 Minnesota employers include:

  • Most employers in Minnesota, at locations with 5 or more employees, employ individuals with disabilities.
  • Employers are equally satisfied with their employees with disabilities as they are with their employees without disabilities.
  • Just over half of employers have needed to provide accommodations for their employees with disabilities.
  • Companies that employ people with disabilities tend to be much larger, and more likely to be involved in retail trade or manufacturing.
  • Over half of the businesses that employ people with disabilities were assisted by Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) from the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Minnesota's private sector employers gave very high ratings to the State for its efforts to enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

72% of employers that do not currently employ people with disabilities would be likely to pursue the possibility of hiring a person with a disability, if contacted by DEED or one of its partnering organizations.

PDF   Text HTML   Plain Text Only

(4/12/23)

Dohn Hoyle, Partners in Policymaking Faculty Member, Activist and Organizer

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce an interview with Dohn Hoyle, former director of The Arc Michigan. Dohn Hoyle has worked with Partners in Policymaking since 1987 as a speaker on community organizing.

In this interview, Dohn discusses litigation against public institutions, inclusive education, employment, and supported decision-making. He shares lessons on how to change Medicaid policies as well as the power of the personal story.

View all segments of the Dohn Hoyle interview »

Dohn Hoyle

Governor Tim Walz Proclaims March 2023 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

2023 is the 53rd anniversary of the United States Congress passing a law that today is titled the Federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act).

View the entire proclamation by Governor Tim Walz as PDF »

Read the text of the proclamation »

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities works to increase the independence, self-determination, productivity, integration and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities into the community.

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities provides several grants each year and partners with others in carrying out its mission.

View information about a few of our highlighted grant related activities during the last year »

Los cursos en línea de Partners in Policymaking

A Brief History of True Friends Camp Courage

Dr. Bob and Sue Erickson met at Camp Courage during the first year of camp (1955/1956) where they both worked as camp counselors. Sue's maiden name was Jambeck and she is the daughter of the late Toy Jambeck, who was the first director of Camp Courage. Bob and Sue's wedding was the first one performed at Camp Courage. They have been passionate supporters of Camp Courage and in recent years have been dedicated to sharing the history of Camp Courage and its importance to people with disabilities and those who worked at the camps in its early years.

What follows is an early film and photos of a bygone era-a time when access to recreation and nature by people with disabilities was in its infancy. More information about the growth and development of Camp Courage and True Friends will be added when it becomes available.

Disclaimer: Due to the historical nature of this film and related content, it contains archaic language when referring to individuals with disabilities that do not align with the current language standards of True Friends. True Friends believes in using person-first language where we focus on the individual as a whole and understand that a disability is only one part of the whole person.

Camp Kiwanis, 1954 – Nurse Mary Forberg.
Camp Kiwanis, 1954 – Nurse Mary Forberg.
 Dressed for party at Kiwanis; Helen Torgesen on right.
Dressed for party at Kiwanis; Helen Torgesen on right.
Camper with polio feeding pet fawn.
Camper with polio feeding pet fawn.
Adult session at Camp Kiwanis, circa 1953.
Adult session at Camp Kiwanis, circa 1953.

View the complete article and photo slide show »

The Partners in Policymaking Online Courses Are Now Available in Spanish

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce that the Partners in Policymaking online courses are now available in Spanish. The five courses are Partners in Time, Partners in Education, Partners in Living, Partners in Employment, and Partners in Making Your Case.

The free, on-demand Partners in Policymaking Online Curriculum consists of five courses that can be complete by anyone seeking to understand key issues impacting people with developmental disabilities.

Los cursos en línea de Partners in Policymaking

Los cursos en línea de Partners in Policymaking ya están disponibles en español

El Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities (Consejo del Gobernador de Minnesota sobre Discapacidades del Desarrollo) se complace en anunciar que los cursos en línea de Partners in Policymaking ya están disponibles en español. Los cinco cursos son: Socios en el tiempo, Socios en educación, Socios en la vida, Socios en el empleo y Socios para hacer su caso.

El plan de estudios en línea de Partners in Policymaking, es gratuito y consta de cinco cursos que puede tomar cualquier persona que desee comprender los problemas clave que afectan a las personas con discapacidades del desarrollo. Usted puede:

EEOC has success in litigation about employment discrimination against people with developmental disabilities

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to present Laurie Vasichek, retired Senior Litigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), discussing her work at the EEOC.

Ms. Vasichek's last case was EEOC v Walmart. This court case was appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. One conclusion of this case is that a job coach is considered a reasonable accommodation.

Laurie Vasichek
Laurie Vasichek

EEOC v. Walmart

Watch the complete interview »

The Minnesota Olmstead Plan from 2012-2022: Achievements from the First Decade of Planning and Implementation

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce release of a new publication celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the first Olmstead Planning Committee efforts.

The Jensen settlement agreement was approved in December 2011 and required appointment of an Olmstead Planning Committee in 2012.

The Planning Committee met and recommended to then-DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson that the Governor consider appointing an Olmstead Subcabinet. Governor Dayton signed Executive Order 13-01 appointing the first Olmstead Subcabinet.

This report provides a 10 year summary of achievements and is based upon review of Olmstead reports and interviews with key informants.

(9/15/22)

The Minnesota Olmstead Plan. Achievements from the first decade of planning and implementation 2012-2022.

Impact of the Intersection of Developmental Disabilities and Other Population Profiles on Experiences with Discrimination

Report From Qualitative/Narrative Research

Partners Posters

This research study on the Impact of the Intersection of Developmental Disabilities and Other Population Profiles, was designed to explore how discrimination is experienced by people with developmental disabilities, who are also a part of other marginalized communities.

Along with some relevant insights and hypotheses gained from reviews of prior studies conducted around the country, this research report includes stories gained from 49 people with developmental disabilities and family members, regarding their own personal experiences of being unfairly treated or restricted from opportunities or privileges that are available to others.

The ultimate objective of this research is to raise awareness of the impact of explicit and implicit biases to enhance empathy and appreciation for the experiences of people with developmental disabilities.

PDF   Word PDF   Text

(8/16/22)

Partners in Policymaking 35th Anniversary

Partners Posters

The Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities celebrated the 35th anniversary of Partners in Policymaking on May 21, 2022 during an Open House. During the celebration, the Council released a new mobile museum exhibit that traces the evolution of disability services from the early 1900s through today.

The Wallace Group was on hand at the Open House and taped some messages from the attendees as they were touring the exhibit photos. These testimonial messages were combined into a brief video to commemorate the occasion.

Partners Class 39 Participant Radio Discussion on KFAI

Sherie Wallace joins host Sam Jasmine to discuss Class 39 of Minnesota Partners in Policymaking with class participants Arbdella Hudson, Cassie Kallis, and Nicole Laudont.

(6/10/22)

2022 Minnesota General Population Survey of Attitudes Towards People with Developmental Disabilities

Minnesota has come a long way since 1962. When 900 Minnesotans were surveyed in 1962, 25% of the respondents believed that people with developmental disabilities should not be allowed to use public playgrounds and beaches, 20% believed they should not be able to attend movie theaters, and 35% believed people with developmental disabilities should be kept in an institution. Today the attitudes are much different based on a survey of 900 Minnesotans that match the demographic characteristics of the general population.

Eight-out-of-10 Minnesotans agree that society should do everything in its power to help those who are most vulnerable. Most Minnesotans (86%) believe the State should allocate more funds to support PCAs and related services for Minnesotans with developmental disabilities.

Quality of Lifefor People with Developmental Disabilities Survey 2020

Almost 9-out-of-10 Minnesotans (86%) believe people with developmental disabilities face discrimination. Various forms of discrimination against people with developmental disabilities were mentioned by survey respondents including employment discrimination, bullying, teasing, name calling, being treated poorly, and limited accessibility.

There is room for improvement in advancing toward greater integration and inclusion. But in the past 60 years attitudes have changed which has made an impact on the lives of all Minnesotans.

View as slides    PDF    Text PDF    Text

March Is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities celebrated March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by featuring poetry by Alex Junge, sharing the Governor's Proclamation, and presenting a national video featuring Brittanie Wilson.

Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month »

Alex Junge lives in St Paul and has been writing poetry for over 20 years. He is employed through MSS and came to the December 1, 2021 Council meeting to recite a few of his favorite poems as part of the Cow Tipping presentation. Alex is the Council's "poet laureate."

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities taped several states providing messages and then created this celebratory video. Brittanie Wilson participated on behalf of the Minnesota Council.

Brittanie Wilson

Project SEARCH Minnesota

Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration. A 9-12 month program, Project SEARCH provides total immersion in a large community business. Students with disabilities are offered a workforce alternative for their last year of high school.

Learn more about Project SEARCH »

The Project SEARCH partnership includes a local host business, a school, VRS, a Community Service Provider and a disability services agency. The business provides an on-site training classroom, business liaison and rotational internships for on the job training. The school provides an instructor and job skills trainer(s).

Each day, students report to the host business, learn employability skills in the classroom and job skills through their internships (usually 3-4 internships during the year). Students are encouraged to use public transportation when available, just as they would when employed after high school.

Project search intern
Project search intern
Project search intern

Students and their teams meet monthly for progress reports and to continually refine their career goals and determine concrete next steps. Managers from the host business work with the teacher and skills trainers to support the students every step of the way.

The ultimate goal upon program completion being the students' competitive placements at the host business or in the community, based on the skills and experience learned in their Project SEARCH experiences.

50 Years of Bold Achievements

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce three new products designed to celebrate its 50th Anniversary

The New Stargazers: 50 Years of Bold Achievements is a short documentary that describes the major milestones of the Council's work across the last half century. Brittanie Hernandez-Wilson, Council member and Partners in Policymaking graduate, serves as host.

The New Stargazers: 50 Years of Bold Achievements


The first publication is entitled Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities: 50 Years of Empowering Advocacy, Expanding Capacity and Envisioning Systems Change.

This book organizes the Council's work around the federal Developmental Disabilities Act requirements of advocacy, capacity building, and systems change. Highlights include Partners in Policymaking®, policy analysis work, measurement of public attitudes and work on a range of topics such as prevention of abuse, employment, and the Olmstead Plan. This book also includes a list of all Council members and a list of $40 million of grants awarded since 1971.

50 Years of Empowering Advocacy, Expanding Capacity and Envisioning Systems Change

The second publication, entitled inVISIBILITY, begins with a photo collection from the Minnesota Historical Society and depicts people with developmental disabilities from 1905 to the 1970s. Then the images portray the great progress made in the visibility of people with developmental disabilities in education, employment, community living, and in action as advocates. Each section heading provides a glimpse of prevailing attitudes when the Council began in 1971.

inVISIBILITY

50 Year Celebration - MN Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

The signs were there, dozens of them, and many key players, as well. The 50th Anniversary of the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities at the Doubletree Hilton in Bloomington evoked memories, appreciation, and determination to move forward to further improve the lives of people with disabilities. We interviewed several attendees to capture the flavor and spirit of the event. New publications were made available and a brief 50th Anniversary video ran as attendees enjoyed a great variety of refreshments.


State of Minnesota Proclamation

October 2021 is the 50th anniversary of the formation of the first Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Governor Walz has issued a Proclamation to honor the occasion.

Partners in Policymaking® In the News

Montage pf photos from news articles

Minnesota Partners in Policymaking creates a supportive and educational environment to help individuals change habits, expectations and attitudes about themselves and their loved ones with developmental disabilities. The free program equips people with leadership skills to impact their communities. People with fascinating stories attend workshops and group interactions in preparation to make a substantial difference. Here are some of their stories:

"Service dog, advocacy group helps family to navigate autism challenges,"

St. Cloud Times

When her alert 18-month toddler was losing communication skills and avoiding eye contact, a St. Cloud mother sought help for an autism diagnosis.


"After finding out her kids had lead poisoning, one mother is making sure others are spared,"

Star Tribune

A mother realizes the impacts of lead poisoning on her children from a rented apartment and begins a campaign to draw attention to the problem and propose legislative changes.


"Lino Lakes father works towards bright future for his three daughters with Down syndrome,"

Quad News

After the birth of their child with Down syndrome, this family of six adopted two girls with the same disability to provide companionship. Partners participants introduced the father to positive experiences of self-advocates with independent living.


"Young skater enjoying time on ice despite disabilities,"

The New Prague Times

After realizing that the phrase "dignity of choice" could apply to her daughter with vision, hearing and muscle tone deficiencies, Jennifer Pedersen gave her daughter, Mia, the chance to try ice skating. She went on to learn from her sister and perform in skate shows.


"Advocating for special needs, program teaches how to transition from grade school to adulthood,"

Lakeville Sun This Week

An award-winning elementary school teacher learns from self-advocates about the importance of communication skills and speaking up for one's self.  She sees this valuable skill as critical for her teens to learn as they move into adulthood.


"Elizabeth Hoff chosen for 8-month advocacy program,"

Balaton Press Tribune

Elizabeth Hoff's has two daughters with a progressive, genetic disorder that affects the skeletal system, vision, and heart, a rare form of dwarfism. Hoff's positive, hopeful attitude focuses on abilities rather than disabilities.


"It OK to be different,"

column in Redwood Gazette

A mother's guest column shares her excitement about being accepted into Partners program and a published article about her daughter with Down syndrome. She offers to speak to any community group about the disability.


"Maplewood resident says advocacy training class was life-changing"

The Maplewood Review

Taking the Partners program emphasis on inclusion in the schools, a mother realizes her role in revamping her son's middle school Individual Education Plan (IEP).  It focuses on his strengths and "supports his civil right to be fully included in the general education classroom with appropriate supports."


"Robbinsdale women helping others make sense of disability programs"

Sun Post

Mother of adopted twins who have multiple disabilities shares how person-centered thinking with her children (asking them for their preferences) increases their self-confidence and decision-making skills.


"Rochester moms learn from Partners in Policymaking,"

column, Rochester Post Bulletin

Two Rochester mothers raising children with disabilities describe their Partners involvement as "life-giving and life-changing" and, "a phenomenal, empowering experience." They share how they benefited from the network of advocates and friends and recognize the power of their own story.


"Advocating for those with disabilities, Kelly Konechne completes Partners in leadership training,"

Murray County News

Raising two young boys with disabilities, one with dwarfism and the other with Down syndrome, in a small rural community, Partners spurred Konechne to build a network of peers "to come together to be stronger advocates for our children."

(9/22/21)

Treat People Like People campaign has been updated to include new voices from diverse communities.

Stories - Treat People Like People

https://treatpeoplelikepeople.org

On the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act it is important to remember the ADA's goals of equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities. These goals cannot be achieved unless people with disabilities live free from abuse and neglect.

Listen and learn dynamic, multi-cultural stories from Kate, Christy, Senator Hawj, Bonnie Jean, Abdi, and Linda. Find resources on how to report abuse, the Supervised Living Facilities bill of rights project, Minnesota's Olmstead Plan, training resources, and culturally specific information. You can download beautifully designed posters with powerful messages: "I Just Want to be Treated with Respect" and "Abuse Stops with Us."

The campaign was designed by, for and with people with disabilities.

Treat People Like People

Kate's Story

Bonnie Jean's Story

Christy's Story

Abdi's Story

Senator Hawj's Story

Linda's Story

This isn't about disabilities. It's about respect.

Abuse ends where it begins. It ends with us.

Partners in Living Online Course Updated

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce that its Partners in Living online course has been completely revised.

https://partnersonlinecourses.com/partners-in-living/

Everyone has the right to a full, meaningful life in the community. Fortunately, old stereotypes are being replaced by opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work and participate fully in their communities. A "meaningful life" doesn't mean the same thing for every person. This course explores key elements of a meaningful life including the right to be treated with dignity and respect; the concept of self-determination and how community services and supports, Medicaid waivers and other funding sources affect self-determination; family supports; community living and housing options; and assistive technology. The course also highlights key historical milestones and critical legislation.

Partners in Living is free and takes approximately 4 hours to complete. It is the fifth course in the free Partners in Policymaking online curriculum, which also includes Partners in Time, Partners in Education, Partners in Employment, and Partners in Making Your Case. All five courses have been recently revised.

Partners in Making Your Case Online Course Updated

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce that its popular Partners in Making Your Case online course has been completely revised. Partners in Making Your Case introduces learners to the important role advocacy plays in changing public policies that affect people with developmental disabilities.

The course reinforces that everyone, including people with developmental disabilities, has the right to make their case to policymakers. The course explores key social movements that helped to further the rights of people with developmental disabilities, how public policy is made at the local, state and federal levels and key elements of the advocacy process. It reinforces the connection between personal stories and systems change, and introduces ways to make your case in writing and in person.

The course also introduces ways you can build and maintain momentum by partnering with others who share a similar vision. The course is free and takes approximately 4 hours to complete.

Partners meeting with MN representative
Through Partners in Policymaking, self-advocates and parents of children with developmental disabilities learn critical skills for making their case to policymakers at the local, state and federal levels. Several Partners graduates took advantage of a recent opportunity to meet with a member of the Minnesota Congressional delegation.

Learn About Our Tools and Resources

Recently we interviewed three of our council members – Brittanie Hernandez-Wilson, Reid Scheller, and Bonnie Jean Smith. Watch their video testimonials to learn about our user-friendly tools and easy-to-navigate resources.

View playlist on YouTube

Ambassadors for Respect Announces New Anti-Bullying Handbook, Resource Guide and YouTube Channel

In 2013, the Ambassadors for Respect Anti-Bullying Program was initiated. The program was inspired by self advocates, all of whom experienced bullying and were willing to share their personal stories as part of the training sessions they led for 4th grade elementary school students. In 2020, PeaceMaker Minnesota updated all of the materials, and has now launched a YouTube channel devoted to personal stories.

The Ambassadors for Respect Training Handbook – Training basics for Ambassadors who will be leading training sessions, the details of planning and preparing for the sessions, making props and getting supplies, how to keep students actively engaged in the learning process, and the role that evaluations play in making improvements along the way to increase the benefits and take-aways for students.

The Ambassadors for Respect Marketing Brochure – An overview of the Program as an opportunity for Ambassadors for Respect, transition students and young adults who have experienced bullying, to develop their personal leadership skills, and recognize and gain confidence in their role as teachers. This brochure was created to recruit and inform transition programs on how they can participate in Ambassadors for Respect, and the benefits for their students in doing so.

The Ambassadors for Respect Teacher Resource Guide – Tools on inclusion, Person First Language, and self advocacy to strengthen the bullying prevention efforts that are introduced in the Ambassadors for Respect training sessions.

Ambassadors For Respect YouTube Channel — Watch individual stories of students in transition and adults with developmental disabilities who have experienced bullying.

The Ambassadors for Respect Training Handbook

An Interview with Elinor Gollay

Elinor Gollay guided the evolution of the definition of developmental disabilities during the first 20 years of the Developmental Disabilities Act.

By Jim Conroy, The Center for Outcome Analysis

Elinor Gollay
Elinor Gollay
Ellie Gollay at 13
Ellie Gollay at 13
Jim Conroy
Jim Conroy
Jim Conroy at 23
Jim Conroy at 23

Introduction

After 50 years since the passage of the Developmental Disabilities Act in 1970, it's a good idea to ask again, what exactly is a developmental disability? How did the definition become what it is today? We know that the term "developmental disabilities" was written on a cocktail napkin, brainstormed by Elizabeth Boggs and Elsie Helsel (both mothers and advocates).

One person who was at the center of that cyclone was Dr. Elinor Gollay. After years of turmoil and strife, the besieged Congress mandated that the Administration on Developmental Disabilities undertake whatever actions were necessary to produce a less conflict-prone definition. Dr. Gollay led those efforts from positions in the private sector.

Ellie Gollay at 13

We interviewed Dr. Gollay by video-conference in her Portland home in November 2020. The way in which her work revolutionized the meaning of the term is pivotal in the history of developmental disabilities. This is the story of the origin of the so-called "functional definition of developmental disability." The story reveals a great deal about some oddities and quirks of America's present system of planning and services.

Disclaimer: This interview references an out-of-date term that is called intellectual disability today.

Read the interview ››

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Act

Why did we need a DD Act?

Elizabeth Boggs, Ph. D. and Elsie Helsel, Ph. D. were the primary citizen lobbyists for passage of the law. They represented The Arc US and United Cerebral Palsy Associations, respectively.

50th Anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Act »

DD Act 50th Anniversary

Hadamar: The Forgotten Holocaust, detailing Hitler's extermination of people with disabilities

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities presents a new documentary detailing Hitler's extermination of people with disabilities

On September 1, 1939, World War II began with the German invasion of Poland. On September 1, 2020, the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities is releasing a new documentary entitled, Hadamar: The Forgotten Holocaust. This documentary focuses on Adolph Hitler's order to kill hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities in order to create a master race.  Deaths occurred in various hospitals including Hadamar. We gratefully acknowledge Dave Reynolds from Spokane, Washington who generously provided us with his lecture notes and PowerPoint, and to Tim Lewis from Mastcom for converting that lecture into a 16 minute documentary.

US Senator David Durenberger reflects on the 30th anniversary of the ADA

The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities has archived historical videos and documents since the 1990s. The interview features former US Senator David Durenberger reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the ADA.

He began his Senate career by addressing women's discrimination and then disability discrimination; how people with disabilities became his friends and influencers; how the ADA passed; and the impact of the ADA. To those who opposed passing this civil rights legislation, Senator Durenberger asserts, "We cannot afford not to pass the ADA and enable people with disabilities to be employed."

Senator Durenberger
US Senator David Durenberger

The "Telling Your Story" App Has Been Updated

We are pleased to announce the release of an updated and simplified version of the "Telling Your Story" app.  In six easy steps, create your personal story, tell how a policy issue affects you or your family, add a photo, and send  your message directly to your elected public official.

iOS Version for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store

Android version for phone and tablet available from Google Play

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Three Disability Rights Songs to Honor the 30th Anniversary of the ADA

Five years ago, the Council posted 31 monthly segments describing critical events leading to passage of the ADA.

This year, the Council has asked Jeff Moyer, troubadour of disability rights, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ADA by selecting three original songs. We invite you to read his memories and listen to his music.

Interview with Ann Turnbull

Produced by the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

Ann Turnbull

Dr. Ann Turnbull is recognized as a leading family researcher on the topics of family support, family quality of life, family-professional partnerships, and community inclusion. She is a visionary whose writings are human interest stories that reflect real, authentic life.

510 Videos Now Cataloged and Available Online

With the assistance of Mark Snow, the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities identified and organized the entire collection of videos that are available on various web pages and different locations on the Council website. An index was then created so the collection could be accessed at a single location and according to the following topics:

Over the past five years, more than 350,000 video views have been reported. Consistently, over that time period, the Willowbrook and Marc Gold videos have been at the top of the video viewing list.

Willowbrook Exposé

Willowbrook Exposé
In 1966, the investigative work and reporting of Geraldo Rivera captured the media's attention in the Willowbrook Exposé and marked the beginning of the end of New York's Willowbrook Institution.

Living In the Feedom World - Don

Marc Gold: "Try Another Way."
In the 1970s, Marc Gold developed and presented three day workshops on a new systematic training approach: "Try Another Way." This system provided an organizational framework, instructional strategies, and a value base for teaching persons with even the most severe disabilities to perform sophisticated tasks or competencies.

Xochil Flores

Xochil Flores on Medicaid
In 2018, Xochil Flores said her seven-year-old daughter wasn't expected to survive when she was born. With Medicaid's help, her daughter has learned to walk and speak Spanish, English, and use sign language.

A Complete Bill of Rights Training Package Now Available

Bill of Rights situations

Minnesota's Olmstead Plan was developed to ensure that people with disabilities are living, learning, working, and enjoying life in the most integrated setting. Prevention of Abuse and Neglect is one of the topics included in a comprehensive plan to educate people with disabilities and their families, mandated reporters and the general public about how to identify and report abuse, and how to prevent it from occurring.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) supports the concept of a public education campaign for individuals with disabilities, families, providers, and advocates that addresses prevention and includes a discussion about rights. The Council, in collaboration with the MDH, produced this package of resources around the Bill of Rights for Supervised Living Facilities:

  1. Easy Read Guide: The Guide is a simplified version of the Health Care Bill of Rights for Residents of Supervised Living Facilities. The 25 rights are presented in plain English with images that help to explain each of the rights
  2. Know Your Rights Persons Served Workbook: The Persons Served Workbook explains what each right is about and includes lessons to aid in understanding.
  3. Know Your Rights Instructor Handbook: The Instructor Handbook is a resource for staff, families, guardians, advocates, and educators to help persons served understand their rights, recognize and report instances of abuse and neglect, and help with prevention efforts.
  4. Situational Videos: In January 2018, four video segments were released about the Right to Refuse Care, the Right to Freedom from Maltreatment, the Right to Complaints/Grievances, and the Right to Personal Property.

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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.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2301MNSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.