This article originally appeared in The Washingon Post's “Wonkblog” on October 20, 2013. Here is an excerpt: 

“Despite many challenges and failures, the history of disability policy — which happens to be the subject of my next book — represents an overlooked triumph in American life. Our nation has opened its heart and its wallet to millions of our fellow citizens who live with intellectual disabilities. In popular culture, law, and social policy, we have come a very long way. As a result, millions of people are now living more productive and dignified lives.

I recently paid a visit to 27-year-old Beth Terrill of Elmhurst, Illinois. I met Beth through her parents, Cathy Ficker Terrill and David Terrill. Cathy and David have worked for years in and around the field of intellectual disability. Cathy served as past president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), and has received many other state and national honors.”

Read the full text here