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Developmental Disabilities Movement

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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. In the 1800s, professionals led this movement by building schools, hospitals, and institutions to provide training and education. As these early efforts eventually led to segregation and exclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities, a movement by parents of children with disabilities formed across the United States and in other countries following the second World War. Parents advocated for better living conditions, educational and employment opportunities, and acceptance in the community. In the 1970s, people with physical disabilities organized and started the Independent Living Movement, advancing accessibility and the rights of all people with disabilities. In the 1980s, people with developmental disabilities organized and advocated on behalf of themselves and others with disabilities. The Self-Advocacy Movement, as part of the broader Developmental Disabilities Movement, has fostered thousands of self-advocacy groups across the globe.

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