Disability History, Public Policy and Services


In this first session of DC Advocacy Partners, participants will: 

  • Increase their knowledge of the history of people with disabilities; 
  • Learn about the disability rights movement in America and in Washington DC;
  • Be able to describe the history of attitudes toward people with disabilities, laws, programs, and services for people with disabilities;
  • Be able to describe the role and contributions of the parent/family movement;
  • Be able to describe the history of the self advocacy and independent living movement; and,
  • Learn and be able to describe the purpose of DC Advocacy Partners program.


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Mathew McCollough
Executive Director, DC Developmental Disabilities Council

Judy Heumann
Disability Rights Leader and Special Advisor on International Disability Rights, U.S. Department of State

Tiffany Smallwood
Paralegal and DC Advocacy Partners 2012 Graduate

Tina Campanella
Executive Director, Quality Trust

Ricardo Thornton
Co-Chair of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council and DC Advocacy Partners 2012 Graduate

Lawrence Carter-Long
Public Affairs Specialist, National Council on Disability


Partial List of D.C. Resources

Disability Legislation, a NCWD/Youth Publication

Models of Disability and The Disabilities Context, excerpted from Paving the Way to Work: A Guide to Career-Focused Mentoring, a NCWD/Youth Publication

Rights of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

People First Language from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

Disability Etiquette: Tips on Interacting with People with Disabilities from the United Spinal Association

Position Statement Self-Determination from The Arc and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


The Washington Experience: Taxonomy Activity


A primary goal of DC Advocacy Partners is to make sure you have the opportunity to learn about disability policy, effective methods of being part of the decision making process and influencing policy, and meeting others who share your interests, concerns and dedication to improving the lives of people with disabilities living in DC. Homework is part of the learning process and will help you become a more effective advocate. The homework assignment for Session 1 is below.

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