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The Disability Rights Movement is a global social movement that seeks to secure equal opportunities and equal rights for all people with disabilities. While great strides have been made, there is still ground to cover. People On the Go Maryland is committed to providing resources for the disabilities movement. 

Disability Rights Timeline

Four Important Moments in Disability Rights History

A family of four poses for the camera. The family includes a mother and father, a sister, and a brother who is intellectual/developmental challenged.
1973: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

The first disability civil rights law to be passed in the United States, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits organizations and businesses that receive funding from the U.S. government from discriminating against those with disabilities.

March 13, 1990: The Capital Crawl

On this famous day, over 1,000 people traveled from the White House to the U.S. Capitol building, looking to draw attention to the need for Congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act. Once the group arrived at the Capitol, about 60 individuals left their mobility aids and crawled up the Capitol building steps, gaining the name “The Capital Crawl.”

1990: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which first passed in 1975, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires public school districts to provide a free and appropriate education to all students with disabilities, alongside their peers as much as possible (known as the least restrictive environment, or LRE).


Students with disabilities must be evaluated at no cost to the family, and schools must provide the child with disabilities special education and related services to help the child learn and grow. IDEA also outlined early intervention services for children from birth to age three.

July 16, 1991: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a hallmark piece of legislation for people with disabilities living in the United States. The ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination in many facets of life including, employment, state and local government services, public transit, businesses that are open to the public, and telecommunications.

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