1. Social Security Amendments of 1960

    1960

    6628756029_ecfa7bc1cb_z Social Security Amendments of 1960 U.S. Congress removes the provision limiting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to workers over age 50, making SSDI available to younger workers with disabilities.

  2. The de-institutionalization campaign for people with developmental disabilities begins

    1960

    6628756409_209b2a538a_z 1960s - The de-institutionalization campaign for people with developmental disabilities begins. The goal was to move individuals from large institutions to small group homes with community-based services. Funding was difficult and the plan took years to implement. Many people were moved to another institution or to smaller, on-site facilities.

  3. Rome State Custodial Asylum

    1960

    6628756217_22c561a27a_z Rome State Custodial Asylum - The de-institutionalization campaign for people with developmental disabilities begins. The goal was to move individuals from large institutions to small group homes with community-based services. Funding was difficult and the plan took years to implement. Many people were moved to another institution or to smaller, on-site facilities.

  4. Overcrowding

    1960

    6628756549_aef358918d_z Overcrowding - Overcrowding in state institutions leads to the expansion of other state facilities. New York State took over 5 floors of Gouverneurs Hospital in New York City. Sampson Air Force Base on Seneca Lake received transfers from various state schools. Mount McGregor Veterans Rest Home in Saratoga County receive patients from Rome State School. J.N. Adam, formerly a tuberculosis hospital on the grounds of the Gowanda State Hospital, was converted to a state school.

  5. New York DisAbility History Timeline

    1960

    6628784719_08c81068a1_z 1960s New York DisAbility History Timeline Nelson A. Rockefeller begins first of four terms as governor of the State of New York. Overcrowding in New York State schools and waiting lists for disability services became the central focus of the 1960s. Construction plans proved to be inadequate and under- budgeted and staffing shortages were also causing delays in building new facilities. The 1960s saw a shift in the structure of institutions from a “flat pyramid model” in which a few administrators and physicians oversaw thousands of employees who serve in a custodial capacity, to a more complex model, employing individuals with skills specific to improving overall care. New York saw an increase in State colleges, universities and other public programs. The overwhelming need for reform and increased pressure from Association for Retarded Children parents’ groups regarding funding, slow construction of new facilities and facilities not being built near the residents’ home communities culminated in a lawsuit brought against New York State (ARC v. Rockefeller).

  1. John Fitzgerald Kennedy becomes President of the United States

    1961

    6628756737_4493d384cf_z 1961 - John Fitzgerald Kennedy becomes President of the United States (1961-1963).

  2. President Kennedy establishes the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation

    1961

    6628757501_37f25486a0_z 1961 - President Kennedy establishes the President’s Panel on Mental Retardation. By evaluating the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and developing strategies for public policy reform, the panel expanded the role of the federal government regarding mental retardation issues. It developed an initiative, “The Proposed Program for National Action to Combat Mental Retardation,” which served as a model for New York State advocates who objected to previous state policies.

  3. West Seneca State School: Department of Mental Hygiene announces opening of new administration building

    1961

    6628757087_0d6c48e55c_z 1961 -19, but the facility wouldn’t receive patients until 1963.

  4. American National Standard Institute, Inc. (ANSI) publishes “American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings Accessible”

    1961

    6628757261_ea29bdede5_z 1961 - American National Standard Institute, Inc. (ANSI) publishes "American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings Accessible to and Usable by the Physically Handicapped" (A117.1). Re-published in 2003, it was the foundational document for all future architectural access codes.

  5. American Council of the Blind established in Washington DC

    1961

    6628756883_c275005d2c_z 1961 - American Council of the Blind established in Washington DC to provide proper support, care and services to all people blind and/or visually impaired.

  1. De-institutionalization and community services for people with mental disabilities moves another step forward

    1963

    6628757933_4da003d27a_z 1963 - De-institutionalization and community services for people with mental disabilities moves another step forward when President Kennedy calls on Congress for legislation to reduce the number of individuals under custodial care in institutions.

  2. The “MillsRibicoff” Bill amends the Social Security Act

    1963

    6628758197_d1fe4c139e_z 1963 - The “MillsRibicoff” Bill amends the Social Security Act to assist states and communities in preventing and combating mental retardation by providing pre-natal care and services for infants born with disabilities.

  3. President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas

    1963

    6628758425_0a944906e1_z 1963 - November 22: President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

  4. Lyndon Baines Johnson becomes president

    1963

    6628758563_8fb8bfe1d0_z 1963 - Lyndon Baines Johnson becomes president (1963-1969).

  5. Outbreak of hepatitis among children at Willowbrook State School

    1963

    6628758731_8b465aeed3_z 1963-1966 - Outbreak of hepatitis among children at Willowbrook State School, leads to medical testing performed on healthy children. These children were injected with the hepatitis virus to gauge the effects of “gamma globulin,” as a method to fight the disease.

  6. The Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Health Centers Construction Act was signed by President Kennedy

    1963

    6628758311_450dba8264_z 1963 - October 31: The Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Health Centers Construction Act was signed by President Kennedy, providing federal grants for building public and private non-profit community mental health centers.

  7. Mental Hygiene Facilities Improvement Fund (MHFIF) bill submitted by Rockefeller and passed by the legislature

    1963

    6628757685_5e9ff80ed1_z 1963 - Mental Hygiene Facilities Improvement Fund (MHFIF) bill submitted by Rockefeller and passed by the legislature to fund the construction of facilities through the sale of government “moral obligation” bonds. Re-payment of these bonds was relegated to the families of institutional residents. The ARC rejected this plan, but failed in their attempts to change the legislation.

  8. Outbreak of hepatitis among children at Willowbrook State School, leads to medical testing performed on healthy children

    1963

    6628759005_618b68c81b_z 1963-1966 - Outbreak of hepatitis among children at Willowbrook State School, leads to medical testing performed on healthy children. These children were injected with the hepatitis virus to gauge the effects of “gamma globulin,” as a method to fight the disease.

  1. New York State Senator Robert Kennedy and a television crew visit Willowbrook State School

    1965

    6628759181_27a4b722b3_z 1965 - New York State Senator Robert Kennedy and a television crew visit Willowbrook State School in Staten Island NY. He likens the conditions at Willowbrook to that of a “snake pit,” and states that the residents of these institutions were “denied access to education and are deprived of their civil liberties.” Later that same year, he addressed a joint session of the NYS Legislature on the “dehumanizing conditions” of the State’s institutions.

  2. Christmas in Purgatory: A Photographic Essay on Mental Retardation by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan

    1965

    1965 - Christmas in Purgatory: A Photographic Essay on Mental Retardation by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan documents and illustrates the deplorable conditions at eastern state institutions.

  3. Medicare and Medicaid programs are established by the Social Security Amendments of 1965

    1965

    6628759609_8f6da7f598_z 1965 - Medicare and Medicaid programs are established by the Social Security Amendments of 1965. The amendments create federally funded health insurance for retirees and recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (Medicare) and Americans who are poor and/or disabled (Medicaid).

  4. Vocational Rehabilitation Amendment of 1965 expanded services to reach a broader population

    1965

    6628759989_160eac830e_z 1965 - Vocational Rehabilitation Amendment of 1965 expanded services to reach a broader population by authorizing the federal government to build rehabilitation centers while expanding existing vocational rehabilitation programs. It also created the National Commission on Architectural Barriers to Rehabilitation of the Handicapped.

  5. Immigration restrictions on the “feeble-minded”

    1965

    6628759821_da8dba8c78_z 1965 - Immigration restrictions on the “feeble-minded”: U.S. Congress reverses the 1924 immigration policies which restricted admission of families with a “feeble-minded” member.

  1. Organization for Accessible Buildings founded in Rochester, NY

    1966

    6628760321_88e3fd8598_z 1966 - Organization for Accessible Buildings founded in Rochester, NY by a group of young, disabled high school students who discovered NYS college and university campuses were ill-equipped for students with disabilities. The organization was later renamed “Handicapped Independence HERE Inc” and reorganized as the Regional Center for Independent Living in 1979.

  2. NY State Hostel Program initiated

    1966

    6628760643_c113908b32_z 1966 - NY State Hostel Program initiated. Hostels were homes in the community with “house parents” who lived with the residents. This type of living arrangement had been promoted by the ARC for many years but it wasn’t until 1966 when legislation provided funds for construction that the program began to take shape. The first hostel, a Manhattan townhouse, opened in 1968.

  3. President’s Committee on Mental Retardation established by President Johnson

    1966

    6628760437_31db38453b_z 1966 - President’s Committee on Mental Retardation established by President Johnson. The central tenet of the Committee is prevention which includes promoting healthy pregnancies, timely immunizations, child safety and early intervention for infants and toddlers.

  4. NYS Legislation amends Section 4707 of the Education Law

    1966

    6628760183_f5b73f9080_z 1966 - NYS Legislation amends Section 4707 of the Education Law allowing the State to subsidize private schools within and outside NYS when no suitable public school facilities are available for NY children with disabilities.

  1. The Tragedy and Hope of Retarded Children, by Dr.Burton Blatt with Charles Mangel, featured in the October issue of LOOK magazine

    1967

    6628760811_2b59b22d18_z 1967 - The Tragedy and Hope of Retarded Children, by Dr.Burton Blatt with Charles Mangel, featured in the October issue of LOOK magazine. The article was an excerpt from “Christmas in Purgatory” published in 1965, it exposes the conditions of eastern state institutions for the mentally retarded and offers particular alternatives and solutions to overcrowding and inadequate services by examining the services for people with disabilities at a private facility called Seaside Regional Center in Waterford, Connecticut.

  1. Architectural Barriers Act adopted by U.S. Congress

    1968

    6628761363_e84cd7b060_z 1968 - Architectural Barriers Act adopted by U.S. Congress. The act required most buildings and facilities designed, built, altered or leased with federal funds be accessible to people with disabilities. This act will be considered the first federal law mandating disability rights. In 1976 the revised Act will require that construction plans include access features.

  2. The NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) established

    1968

    6628761029_8a8c90f873_z 1968 - The NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR) established by the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. IBR conducts research into the causes, treatment and prevention of mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. They also provide a variety of services to individuals with devolpmental disabilities and their families and serve to educate health care professionals and the general public regarding the diagnosis, care and treatment of people with developmental disabilities.

  1. Dr. Bengt Nirje publishes the concept of “normalization” in the 1969 President’s Report on Mental Retardation

    1969

    6628761671_4e8d5336fe_z 1969 - Dr. Bengt Nirje publishes the concept of "normalization" in the 1969 President's Report on Mental Retardation. This concept was borrowed from parents of children with developmental disabilities and leaders in the field of mental retardation in Sweden. Normalization would be further developed to re-define perceptions of individuals with disabilities.

  2. Normalization means…A normal rhythm of the day

    1969

    6628761815_a15bb7749e_z Normalization Bengt Nirje: - Normalization means…A normal rhythm of the day. You get out of bed in the morning, even if you are profoundly retarded and physically handicapped; You get dressed, And leave the house for school or work, You don’t stay home; In the morning you anticipate events, In the evening you think back on what you have accomplished; The day is not a monotonous 24 hours with every minute endless. You eat at normal times of the day and in a normal fashion; Not just with a spoon, unless you are an infant; Not in bed, but at a table; Not early in the afternoon for the convenience of the staff. Normalization means…A normal rhythm of the week…

  3. Richard M. Nixon becomes President (1969-1974)

    1969

    6628761533_7b9cbf003a_z 1969 - Richard M. Nixon becomes President (1969-1974).

  1. The 1970s were marked by continued pressure from advocacy groups upon New York State government to de-institutionalize

    1970

    6628785187_6bdfbee4d1_z 1970s New York - The 1970s were marked by continued pressure from advocacy groups upon New York State government to de-institutionalize. Many New York State advocacy groups were campaigning for inclusion and integration. New laws were passed and pressure from outside forces gained momentum. National media coverage brought American society face to face with the deplorable conditions and treatment of the developmentally disabled living in institutions. The first community-based residence for individuals with developmental disabilities opens in New York State.

  2. Nelson Rockefeller campaigns for re-election

    1970

    6628762141_e0f21e050d_z 1970s - Nelson Rockefeller campaigns for re-election. He promised improvements in the field of mental health with new programs for care and treatment close to home or near family. He vowed to increase State aid for mental health treatment centers and double the staff in schools for the mentally retarded.

  3. Rockefeller campaigns for re-election

    1970

    6628761951_5a2f2ed36a_z 1970s - Rockefeller campaigns for re-election. He promised improvements in the field of mental health with new programs for care and treatment close to home or near family. He vowed to increase State aid for mental health treatment centers and double the staff in schools for the mentally retarded.

  4. Rockefeller campaigns for re-election

    1970

    6628762319_849a0dc57a_z 1970s - Rockefeller campaigns for re-election. He promised improvements in the field of mental health with new programs for care and treatment close to home or near family. He vowed to increase State aid for mental health treatment centers and double the staff in schools for the mentally retarded.

  5. Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments adopted by U.S. Congress

    1970

    6628789939_1817abfa86_z 1970 - Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments adopted by U.S. Congress. The first legal definition of developmental disabilities is established. The amendments allowed for services and facilities to rehabilitate people with developmental disabilities. They also established state "Developmental Disabilities Councils." The term "developmental disability" means: A severe, chronic disability of an individual that: is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; is manifested before the individual attains age 22; is likely to continue indefinitely; results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following area of major life activity: self care receptive and expressive language learning mobility self-direction capacity for independent living economic self-sufficiency.

  6. Judy Heumann founds “Disabled in Action” (DIA) in New York City

    1970

    6628762607_2cb0e9f1a6_z 1970 - Judy Heumann founds "Disabled in Action" (DIA) in New York City as a "civil rights" organization for people with disabilities. DIA is a democratic, not-for-profit, tax-exempt, membership organization consisting mainly of individuals with disabilities. Their motto is: "Nothing about us without us!" The same year, Judy sued the New York City Public School system for refusing her a teaching license because of a fear that her use of a wheelchair may endanger children during an emergency. She won the lawsuit and received her teaching license.

  7. Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) formed

    1970

    6628762425_3b9e404530_z 1970 - Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) formed to "plan, monitor, evaluate and advocate on behalf of developmentally disabled people, in conjunction with the State agency." The Council is comprised of concerned citizens, non-governmental and public agencies advocating for services on behalf of people with disabilities.

  8. Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University founded by Burton Blatt and Wolf Wolfensberger

    1970

    6628762735_47c7c88f02_z 1970 - Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University founded by Burton Blatt and Wolf Wolfensberger. The center was designed to promote a more open and accepting society for people with disabilities.

  9. Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University founded by Burton Blatt and Wolf Wolfensberger

    1970

    6628762841_25bf3df797_z 1970 - Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University founded by Burton Blatt and Wolf Wolfensberger. The center was designed to promote a more open and accepting society for people with disabilities.

  10. Urban Mass Transportation Act established by U.S. Congress providing adequate and equal access to mass public transportation for elderly and handicapped Americans

    1970

    6628763077_dee3abdfe7_z 1970 - Urban Mass Transportation Act established by U.S. Congress providing adequate and equal access to mass public transportation for elderly and handicapped Americans. It required all vehicles of mass transit to be designed, constructed and operated in a way that serves their needs.

  1. United Nations Declaration on the “Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons” adopted

    1971

    6628764049_bbfe24902a_z 1971 - United Nations Declaration on the "Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons" adopted. Providing the same rights given to other human beings: •the right to proper medical careeducation •economic security by way of a meaningful occupation •the right to live with family or in other homes if possible with financial assistance. If living in a facility, it must provide a healthy environment •the right to a proper guardian •the right to protection from exploitation, abuse or neglect. •In the event that the individual is unable to exercise their rights, the proper legal safeguards must be imposed.

  2. One of the first community residences in NYS is established in the City of Buffalo

    1971

    6628763233_151167677f_z 1971 - One of the first community residences in NYS is established in the City of Buffalo by the group Service to the Mentally Retarded in Erie County (SMREC). This organization later became People Inc. Ten People shared this home, accompanied by a supervising staff.

  3. Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938 Amended to expand the criteria for attending sheltered workshops beyond blindness

    1971

    6628763417_711fd17bc4_z 1971 - Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938 Amended to expand the criteria for attending sheltered workshops beyond blindness, to other disabilities.

  4. Mental Patients Liberation Project founded in New York City

    1971

    6628763537_3c44c6e916_z 1971 - Mental Patients Liberation Project founded in New York City. This organization was formed based on the view that current or former mental patients should represent themselves regarding reform and advocacy.

  5. PARC v. State of Pennsylvania: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania declares unconstitutional various state laws barring children with disabilities from public schools

    1971

    6628763745_650c62bd35_z 1971 - Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Children (PARC) v. State of Pennsylvania: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania declares unconstitutional various state laws barring children with disabilities from public schools. This case prompted further "right to education" lawsuits across the U.S.

  6. National Center for Law and the Handicapped established at the University of Notre Dame

    1971

    6628763909_ef36c87639_z 1971 - National Center for Law and the Handicapped established at the University of Notre Dame. The center was the first organization to provide legal services to the disabled.

  1. Wyatt v. Stickney, a suit brought against Alabama’s Commissioner of Mental Health

    1972

    6628764161_10f193cbb7_z 1972 - Wyatt v. Stickney, a suit brought against Alabama’s Commissioner of Mental Health, was a class action complaint initiated by the threat of mass layoffs at the Bryce State Hospital for the mentally ill. The court provided a right to treatment for individuals living in state institutions based on constitutional standards, adequate funding to implement the standards, sufficient staffing and qualified administrative oversight. The success of this suit became the model for future lawsuits brought against institutions across the country.

From Nelson Rockefeller’s term in the 1960s to increased legal protection for individuals with disabilities in the new millennium, the past several decades have brought a lot of good change to New York’s history.