Disability Awareness and History Bill

Educating ALL students about disability awareness and history...
Celebrate Disability History and Awareness Week
during the third week of October!



The DAHB taskforce with Senator Jean Schodorf after testimonyFor many years, there has been a youth led movement to increase disability education in schools across the United States. This movement has caused many states to pass bills or resolutions requiring schools to teach disability awareness and history in classrooms. KYEA wanted to do just this for the state of Kansas, and in the fall of 2009, forged straight ahead on passing such a bill. A taskforce was formed made up of youth with disabilities and KYEA staff. The goal of this taskforce was to work on, advocate for, and assist in implementing a bill that would require Kansas schools to teach disability awareness and history. The team worked tirelessly on gaining support, giving testimony, advocating at the Capital, and encouraging legislators to pass this important bill. They presented testimony to the House and Senate during the session and received positive support from most legislators. Each taskforce member rallied support in their local community and spoke with various groups to share the importance of the bill.

After months of planning, strategizing, and advocating with our youth taskforce, the Disability Awareness and History Bill was officially passed during the last few days of the legislative session. What was originally known as Senate Bill 162 was put within Senate Bill 41 and was passed by both houses of the legislature. KYEA staff, youth representatives, and Senator Anthony Hensley all were present for an official bill signing ceremony on June 4, 2009. KYEA now joins 11 other states who have passed a similar bill or are currently working on one.


The Law- SB 41

Read the Disability Awareness and History section of SB 41

This new law states that the state board of education will designate a period of time each school year as a time for disability history and awareness. It states that each school district will include disability history and awareness within the district’s curriculum as deemed appropriate by the district. The law works to encourage better treatment of individuals with disabilities, reduce bullying against students with disabilities, increase self-esteem and disability pride, and reaffirm a commitment to full inclusion of people with disabilities.



After the passage of this bill, KYEA began brainstorming ways to help schools implement this new legislation in the classrooms. We started by creating a CIL Liaison program to select one person in each independent living center that will create connections in local schools. These liaisons will be working with their schools to assist teachers in following through on the bill.
KYEA has also been working very closely with the Kansas State Department of Education in the last year. KSDE and KYEA, along with a variety of other disability related organizations, recently created a resource manual that will be given to teachers across Kansas. This manual will guide teachers in their efforts to bring disability awareness and history into their classrooms. The guide is now complete and can be viewed on the KS State Dept. of Education website. View the Disability History and Awareness Guide
And, for one of the most exciting pieces of news... the State Board of Education has written a proclamation to designate the third week of October as Disability History and Awareness Week in Kansas! Schools will be encouraged during this week, each year, to teach disability education to all students.


A big thanks goes out to our youth taskforce who worked so hard to get this bill passed. Those taskforce members are:

Andrew Crane (Wichita)
Nickole Donohue (Derby)
Kelly Morse (Topeka)
Chris Roberson (Wichita)
Thad Smith (Topeka)

We would also like to thank Senator Vicki Schmidt and Anne-Marie Hughey for providing much guidance and support through the legislative process. Also thanks to the many legislators who supported this bill and the advocates throughout our state who fought for this passage alongside of us.


Helpful Websites
Disability History Resources on the Web

Disability History Weeks- www.disabilityhistoryweek.org
Disability History Timeline (from NCLD)- www.ncld-youth.info/index.php?id=61
Disability History Museum - www.disabilitymuseum.org
Disability Social History Project - www.disabilityhistory.org
Disability Media Initiative: Sharing Stories of People with Disabilities - http://dmi-us.blogspot.com
Parallels In Time: History of Developmental Disabilities - www.mncdd.org/parallels
Smithsonian Museum: Disability Rights Movement Virtual Tour - www.americanhistory.si.edu/disabilityrights/welcome.html
Museum of disAbility History - www.museumofdisability.org
History of Independent Living (by two Kansas advocates) - www.kacil.org/history.htm
Disability History and Culture Resources (from Kids As Self Advocates) - www.fvkasa.org/resources/history.html
People and Events on Disability History - www.kcdcinfo.com/history
EdRoberts.net - http://edroberts.net

Lesson Plans for Disability History

Disability Heritage Project (a program of KYEA) - www.kyea.org/dhp
ADL Curriculum Connections: Lesson Plans and Resources for K-12 Educators - www.adl.org/education/curriculum_connections/fall_2005
Center on Human Policies: Disability Studies for Teachers - www.disabilitystudiesforteachers.org
Teaching Tolerance: The ABC's of Disability Rights - www.tolerance.org/teach/activities/activity.jsp?p=0&ar=872&pa=1