This week in history, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed. Yesterday, we asked which President established the first major legislation to provide programs for intellectual disabilities.
The answer is John F. Kennedy, with strong support from his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The Kennedy family had a personal connection to the issue. The president’s sister Rosemary, 16 months his junior, was born with intellectual disabilities.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Which President addressed Congress with these words: “Disabled Americans must become full partners in America’s opportunity society?”
Pictured: John F. Kennedy hands Eunice Kennedy Shriver the signing pen after signing the Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Amendments of 1963.
This week in 1921, Eunice Kennedy Shriver was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. She was the sister of President John F. Kennedy, and a leader of great influence in her own right as an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities.
One of Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s greatest accomplishments was creating the Special Olympics. In the summer of 1962, Shriver informally opened up her home in Maryland as a summer day camp for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. That led to the creation of the Special Olympics.
Today, more than 1.3 million children and adults with intellectual disabilities participate in the Special Olympics, which is active in more than 150 countries around the world. Read more from the JFK Library
July 10, 1921 - August 11, 2009