THE DISABILITY RIGHTS & INDEPENDENT LIVING MOVEMENT
Blue-curb parking spaces, accessible buses, sign-language interpreters,
ramps to buildings, braille elevator buttons, and much more, were unknown
a few short years ago. Where this all came from is as fascinating as where
we hope to be headed.
|In 1972, the first Center for
Independent Living was founded by disability activists, led by
Ed Roberts, in Berkeley, California. Ed Roberts
is unfailingly cited as a pioneer in the movement by persons with
disabilities for legally defined rights and control over their own lives.
No longer content with limited life opportunities, nor willing to be
defined solely as medical patients, disabled people in several cities
nationwide shared the willingness to challenge authority, discard
inherited prejudices, and effect social change that was the hallmark of
the 1970s. Blue-curb parking spaces were to become ordinary sights within
Evolution of the CIL philosophy has not come without growing pains. Perhaps the most famous occurred in Norman, OK, when five of six staff members walked out of their CIL because of continuous confrontations with their board. This led to a change in the Rehabilitation Act in the 1980ís, where this change required that more than half of the members of the board of directors in each center for independent living must be individuals with disabilities.
Depending on the public services in the community, Centers might assist with housing referral and adaptation, personal assistance referral, or legal aid. Typically, Centers work with local and regional governments to improve infrastructure, raise awareness about disability issues and lobby for legislation that promotes equal opportunities and prohibits discrimination.
In 1990, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) finally became a reality in a nation designed for equality. We have now come, again, to a new chapter in this evolution of living with a disability, and how much can be done with one.
Famous People with Disabilities
Beethoven: Composer: Was deaf when he composed his 9th symphony.
George Washington: Had a learning disability. He could barely write and had very poor grammar skills.
Michelangelo: Artist: Epilepsy and Depression
Thomas Edison: Had a learning disability. He couldn't read until he was twelve years old and had a very difficult time writing even when he was older.
Albert Einstein: Mathematician/Physicist: Had a learning disability and did not speak until age 3. He had a very difficult time doing math in school. It was very hard for him to express himself through writing.
President Roosevelt: At age 39, his legs were paralyzed by polio. He became governor of New York state and was elected president four times.
Alexander Graham Bell: had a learning disability.
Stephen Hawking: physicist/mathematician has Lou Gehrigs Disease and is in a wheelchair. He needs a computer to speak.
Milton: English Author/poet (1608-1674): He became blind at age 43. He went on to create his most famous epic, Paradise Lost.
George Patton: This World War II General had a learning disability.
Leonardo DaVinci: Artist, Inventor: had Epilepsy and a Learning Disablility
Werner Von Braun: had a learning disability and often flunked his math tests in high school.
Winston Churchill: had a learning disability.
Walt Disney: had a learning disability.
Other famous people who have learning disabilities: Cher, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, Greg Louganis, Bruce Jenner, H.G. Wells, Woodrow Wilson, and many more. Reduced from original list of over 26 pages.
Famous people who are known or are thought to have had epilepsy: Charles Dickens, Neil Abercrombie, Margaux Hemingway, Tchaikovsky, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Alfred the Great, William Pitt, Napoleon, Byron, de Moupassant, Edward Lear, Handel, Berlioz, Paganini, Vincent Van Gogh, Tony Lazzeri, Gary Howatt, British marathon runner Alan Blinston, Alfred Nobel.
Reduced from original list of over 26 pages.