October 31, 2016, by Jennifer G. Johnson, Ed.D., Deputy Director, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Fifty three years ago today, President John F. Kennedy signed a historic piece of legislation that we now know as the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act).
At the time, people with developmental disabilities (DD) faced exclusion from many spheres of public and private life, including most schools and community spaces. Many spent nearly their entire lives in large, state-run institutions that were often grossly underfunded and where reports of systemic abuse and neglect were common.
Speaking in Montgomery, Ala. this summer, Administration on Disabilities Commissioner Aaron Bishop explained how he came to see the parallels between the segregation and discrimination faced by people with DD and his family’s experiences of racial segregation and discrimination.
Bishop also describes the evolution of DD Act programs and their impact in Alabama and across the country over the last 53 years.
Read the rest of the article by Administration for Community Living.