The history of Ohioans with developmental disabilities has changed significantly over the years. The timeline below highlights a few of the many important milestones that have shaped our system and our society into what it is today. The information shared below is featured from the work of the Ohio Association of County Boards Always There campaign.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishing the most comprehensive civil rights law prohibiting unjustified discrimination based on disability in employment, public services, public accommodation, and telecommunications. Disabilities included both mental and physical impairments, and do not need to be severe or permanent to be a disability.
The Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities was the first county in Ohio to remove the words “mental retardation” from our name. Senate Bill 79, a law which changed the names of the county boards and state level cabinet removing “mental retardation” from their names, wasn’t signed for 19 more years in 2009.
On April 24, 2007, the Ohio General Assembly eliminated the words “idiot,” “lunatic,” and “imbecile” as descriptions of people with developmental disabilities from the Ohio Revised Code. Before the end of the decade, Senate Bill 79 would change the name of the Ohio County Boards of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to the County Boards of Developmental Disabilities, and the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.