Brief Disability Legislation Timeline
1974 — The Rehabilitation Act Amendments included a broader definition of handicapped individuals, transferred the Rehabilitation Services Administration to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, strengthened the Randolf-Sheppard Act; and provided for convening a White House Conference on “Handicapped Individuals.”
1975 — The Education for All Handicapped Children Act ensured a free, appropriate, public education for all students with handicapping conditions; established that students have a right to receive related services that are developmental, corrective, or other supportive services including, but not limited to, speech pathology, audiology, psychological services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and medical services (for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only).
1977 — Groups of individuals with disabilities took over federal buildings across the country in protest because the rules and regulations associated with Section 504 had not been signed by the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare for implementation. The take-over in San Franciso last 29 days and ended only after the rules and regulations were signed to implement the provisions and protections of non-discrimination based on disability. At the same time these were signed, the rules and regulations for the Education for All Handicapped Children Act were also implemented.
1978 — The Rehabilitation Act Amendments provided comprehensive services for independent living through Title VII, including provisions for Comprehensive Services, Centers for Independent Living, Independent Living Services for Older Blind Individuals and Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights; mandated that applicants for funds under Title VII provide assurance that individuals with disabilities would be employed, substantially involved in policy, and consulted on the direction and management of independent living centers; this major focus recognized that achievement of substantially gainful activity (employment) was not the only significant outcome that could be gained from the rehabilitation system and expanded the view of the person with needs that cut across the bureaucracy; also provided VR service grants to Native American tribes.
1987 — The Code of Federal Regulations extended the services under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act to include school health services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.
1988 — The Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act provided states with grants to achieve systems change so that assistive devices and services will be available to under served groups, viewing each child, adult, and older adult as entitled to equal access to opportunities achieved through assistive technology; one of the first laws to repeatedly drive home the mandate for consumer-responsive services and significant inclusion of persons with disabilities in planning, implementing and evaluating progress toward systems change. Students at Gallaudet University go on strike and close the university in protest to the appointment of another non-Deaf university president. Officials finally relented and appointed the school’s first Deaf president.
1990 — The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees the rights of persons with disabilities to equal access to, and non-discriminatory behavior based on disability, in employment (Title I), government services including transportation (Title II), public accommodations (Title III), telecommunications (Title IV), and other services such as insurance (Title V); inclusion, integration, accommodation and accessibility are the underlying premise. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act amended the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, changing its name and adding rehabilitation counseling, recreation (including therapeutic recreation), and social work services to the federal definition of related services.
1992 — The Rehabilitation Act Amendments emphasized employment as the primary goal of rehabilitation; mandated presumptive employability, meaning applicants will be presumed to be employable unless proven otherwise; state that eligible individuals must be provided choice and increased control in determining the vocation rehabilitation goals and objectives, determining services, providers of services, and methods to provide and/or secure services.
2008 — The Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reiterate who is covered by the ADA civil rights protections. It revises the definition of “disability” to more broadly encompass impairments that substantially limit a major life activity.
For the Full timeline: Colorado State. “Disability Legislation History.” Student Disability Center, 30 Jan. 2018, disabilitycenter.colostate.edu/awareness/disability-history/.
Crip Camp starts in 1971 at Camp Jened, a summer camp in New York described as a “loose, free-spirited camp designed for teens with disabilities”. Starring Larry Allison, Judith Heumann, James LeBrecht, Denise Sherer Jacobson, and Stephen Hofmann, the film focuses on those campers who turned themselves into activists for the disability rights movement and follows their fight for accessibility legislation.
The full movie can be streamed on Netflix or found on YouTube.