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Disability History:About

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This multimedia website profiles the experiences of key leaders in the developmental disabilities movement from 1845 through the present through historical trends and public and professional perceptions. This includes the evolving context of acceptance of and services available to persons with disabilities, the features of effective leadership, and the different styles of leadership required for sustainable change.

The Developmental Disabilities Movement is the collective efforts of individuals and groups to ensure that people with developmental disabilities are valued, included, empowered, and productive members of society. This movement includes people with developmental disabilities, parents, siblings, advocates, activists, and professionals from many disciplines.

As in the past, the developmental disabilities field will need visionary leaders to look beyond the realities of today; knowledge leaders who can challenge and advance what we know; organizational leaders who organize and inspire others; policy leaders to rethink public policy; opinion leaders to change what we think about the status quo; communications leaders who advance public attitudes, opinions, and change the way people view the world and the people in it; and motivational leaders who, by example, can show us how we can become leaders in this movement to support people with disabilities. The leaders profiled in this presentation are by no means the only important leaders in the field of developmental disabilities, but we think they serve as a solid foundation for understanding and learning from our past.

Why a wiki site?

A “wiki” is a page or collection of web pages designed to enable those who access them to obtain knowledge from specific entries and to contribute to the content. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites. We envision this multimedia wiki as a tree. The trunk of the tree comprises key leaders representing a variety of leadership styles over the past 150 years. Off of that trunk, or core, we envision branches that allow more detailed learning than the core presentation. From each of the personalities, ideas, or programs introduced in the core we envision branches linked to key concepts that provide greater detail and resources to the learner. These branches will then have their own branches as other wiki participants add information. In addition to content that becomes available to learners through hyperlinks as they move through the course, both title searches and a full-text search will be built into the program.

Site design

All content at the core presentation level is narrated and embedded with media and displayed using the Flash Web media player. Each presentation will provide links to key events -- words describing ideas, leaders, movements, and programs to their information-rich wiki branch pages. Content added via wiki at the “branch” level will not have narration, and use of media will depend upon what each contributor can offer.

We need you

Our primary audience includes people with interest in the past, present, and future of the developmental disabilities field, including current and future leaders in the field. Many individuals who have worked in the area of disabilities since the 1960s and 1970s have important experience, insightful stories, and archival materials that will add breadth and depth to this website. We envision this group of leaders greatly expanding the history at primary and second branch levels. Younger ”future” leaders will be the beneficiaries of this history and we hope will also develop connections from historical events to contemporary issues. Through the wiki approach this history will expand and evolve, connecting more and more events and people working toward a common cause.

This website was created by the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota. Development of this website was supported by a grant from the MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation.

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