When Megan Scully’s four month old son, Danny, was diagnosed with a developmental disability resulting from genetic brain lesions, two of the first questions she asked the doctors were, “would he ever go to school?” and “would he ever make friends?”
Danny is now three, and his mom says, “Not only does he make friends, but he gets in trouble! He has to be separated from his best friends at nap time because they make too much noise.”
Danny’s parents attribute much of his success to his participation in an inclusive early childhood program at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Child Development Centerin Washington, D.C., where children with and without disabilities learn and play side-by-side.
The right to live independently, integrated into the community, is a cornerstone of the disability rights movement. It’s also the core of the mission for the Administration for Community Living — it’s even built into our name. ACL was created around the fundamental principle that all people, regardless of age or disability, should be able to live independently and fully participate in their communities.
For decades, people with disabilities have worked to turn this principle into a reality. Looking at this history, certain moments stand out as turning points. For example, the passage and implementation of landmark legislation including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act have each helped make community living possible for more Americans.