Disability World
A bimonthly web-zine of international disability news and views, Issue no. 7 March-April 2001

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The Future of Disability Policy

By Jonathan M. Young

As many of you know, in my non-public life I am a historian in training, obtaining a Ph.D. in American history with a dissertation on the history of the ADA and the disability rights movement. In this capacity, and as a teacher, I'm always interested in helpful materials that illuminate the history of disability and guide the future of disability policy. In the remarks I circulated in November I sketch out some of my own vision for the direction of disability policy, which is the foundation for the final chapter of my dissertation.

I wanted to share one resource with you that has recently been brought to my attention and which I find extremely valuable. It's a legal study done in part with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, by Bobby Silverstein, who served for many years on Senator Harkin's staff in charge of disability issues, including during passage of the ADA. The article, published in the Iowa Law Review (August 2000, Vol. 85/No. 5), is titled "Emerging Disability Policy Framework: A Guidepost for Analyzing Public Policy."

This substantive article describes the precept, goals, and core policies of our nation's laws relating to people with disabilities and seeks to provide a framework "that can be used as a lens or guidepost to design, implement, and evaluate generic, as well as disability-specific, public policies and programs to ensure meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream society." Appendices to the article include an overview of major disability-related legislation enacted since 1956, as well as an overview of the "Emerging Disability Policy Framework" in narrative form that can be used for training purposes.

The Article and the overview are available on-line through the following link, which is operated by a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), of the U.S. Department of Education. The article is available both as web text and as downloadable files.


I hope many of you are able to take advantage of this important, insightful, and timely resource.

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