President JFK Signs DD-ACT

Celebrating 60 Years of Progress: The DD Act

President JFK Signs DD-ACT

Celebrating 60 Years of Progress: The DD Act

Table of Contents

This year, we celebrate a significant milestone in the journey toward inclusivity and equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities — the 60th anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). This landmark legislation has paved the way for significant advancements in the lives of countless individuals, transforming the landscape of care, support, and rights for those with DD.

President JFK Signs DD-ACT

The DD Act was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on Oct. 31, 1963. It was one of the last bills signed by President Kennedy, who was assassinated three weeks later. The DD Act was a response to the prevailing challenges faced by people with DD and their families and aimed to provide a framework for better care, services, and opportunities.

Establishing the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

The DD Act created the DD network, which is how the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) was established. TCDD is part of 56 councils across the United States that work with local, state, and federal governments to develop robust policy solutions to promote self-determination. Thanks to this groundbreaking legislation, TCDD is able to help people with DD achieve their potential for independence, productivity, and integration into their communities through the development of a comprehensive system of services and supports. Our Council engages in advocacy and planning activities to support areas of need for people with DD in Texas. We provide insight and recommendations to state decision-makers using research and lived experience to improve the lives of Texans with DD and their families.

The DD Act also established the university centers for excellence in developmental disabilities education, research, and services and the protection and advocacy systems. You can read the Administration for Community Living’s statement about the anniversary of the DD Act on their website.

Over the years, the DD Act has undergone several amendments and updates, reflecting evolving knowledge and changing social norms. Some key provisions and their impact include expanding services, emphasizing person-centered planning methods, and fostering a culture of advocacy. The self-advocacy movement has empowered many individuals to speak up and make decisions about their own lives.

TCDD Council Meeting 2009
TCDD Council Meeting, 2009
TCDD Council Member Orientation 2019
TCDD Council Member Orientation, 2019

Celebrating and Looking Ahead

The 60th anniversary of the DD Act is a time to celebrate the progress made in improving the lives of individuals with DD. It is a testament to the tireless efforts of advocates, caregivers, and policymakers who have worked to break down barriers and promote inclusivity. As we look ahead, it’s essential to remember that the journey is far from over. The spirit of the DD Act — rooted in the principles of equity, dignity, and self-determination — continues to guide us toward a more inclusive and compassionate society. By celebrating this landmark legislation and the progress it has spurred, we honor the collective dedication to building more inclusive communities for all.



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