Disability History

Representatives and self-advocates from the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy spearheaded an effort in the 2009 legislative session to have disability history legislation passed in Kansas. While Senate Bill 162 did not pass in the Kansas House, a Disability History and Awareness bill was attached to Senate Bill 41, which passed in both houses of the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Mark Parkinson on May 21, 2009. The Kansas Board of Education developed a Disability History and Awareness resource guide. Other organizations that were key supporters and partners in the passing of this legislation were the Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRC), Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities (KCDD), the Statewide Independent Living Council of Kansas (SILCK), and the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns (KCDC). The two statutes are: K.S.A. 72-7538 (K-12 Disability History Week) and K.S.A. 74-32301 (Post High Disability History Week).

The Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns is compiling information on Kansas disability history and people with disabilities that have shown leadership in the disability community and/or their local community. KCDC is compiling national information events and leadership as well.

Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy provides disability education programs bringing disability awareness and history to students and communities. More information can be found about their programs at www.kyea.org.

The report published by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, "Disability History: An Important Part of America's Heritage", gives a short background on disability history, describes how other states have made the move to requiring a Disability History week in public education, and provides resources for those interested in learning more.