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A historical timeline of living with developmental disabilities

Today, an estimated 26.9% of Ohioans live with a disability. Caregivers spend an average of 20 hours per week caring for people with disabilities. The Ohio Tech Ambassadors Network strives to educate and empower Ohioans to learn more about Supportive Technology and how these technologies can help them live, learn and work more independently.

Ohio has long been at the forefront of empowering individuals with disabilities. With the Ohio Tech Ambassador Network, it is our goal to keep that momentum going and encourage other states to follow our state’s lead.

The Ohio County Boards of Developmental Disabilities created the Always There History Project to “help to tell the story of developmental disabilities in Ohio.” Here are some highlights from the project as well as Ohio Tech Ambassador Network research.

  • 2021

    The Southern Ohio Council of Governments (SOCOG) launches the Ohio Tech Ambassador Network, a program promoting how adaptive technology use enhances lives and independence for people with developmental disabilities.

  • 2018

    Gov. John Kasich signs the Technology First Executive Order, 2018-06K, making Ohio the first state in the U.S. to emphasize expanding access to technology for people with developmental disabilities.

  • 2013

    Ohio becomes one of the first states to receive approval from the federal government to add technology to Home and Community-Based Services waivers.

  • 2009

    President Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), including funding to assist county boards that had lost state funding.

  • 2000

    The Ohio Self Determination Association (OSDA) is established, empowering people with disabilities to direct their lives.

  • 1993

    The Ohio General Assembly passes Senate Bill 21, giving state and county departments of mental retardation and developmental disabilities “additional flexibility in finding solutions to meet the needs and circumstances of Ohioans with developmental disabilities.”

  • 1990

    President George H.W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, establishing the most comprehensive civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on disability in employment, public services, public accommodation, and telecommunications.

  • 1980’s

    Self-advocacy and individual rights gain momentum, encouraging those with developmental disabilities to speak for themselves and take control of their own lives.

  • 1975

    President Gerald Ford signd the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) into law, now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

  • 1970

    The Developmental Disabilities Service and Facilities Construction Act passes. This paves the way to build or improve existing facilities in Ohio and mandates each state creates a developmental disabilities advisory council.

  • 1967

    Governor James Rhodes signs Senate Bill 169 into law, creating Ohio’s 88 county boards of mental retardation.


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