Celebrating Milestones. Looking to the Future.

DirectCourse shares in the mission of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by bringing education, inclusion and integration to the everyday lives of individuals, families, and support professionals. Join us as we explore and celebrate the origins of the ADA and DirectCourse, because knowing where we’re going starts with seeing where we’ve been.



The Smith-Fess Act is passed.

Referred to as the Civilian Rehabilitation Act, the Smith-Fess was patterned after the Soldiers Rehabilitation Act. This legislation began the first rehabilitation program for Americans with disabilities.

Read more about this groundbreaking legislation here.


The Social Security Act establishes an income maintenance system to support those who are unable to work.

Social Security also included provisions furnishing medical and therapeutic services for children with disabilities and made permanent the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

Learn more about the Social Security Act here.


The Randolph-Sheppard Act recognized that people who are blind have vocational potential.

The act gave states the authority to license qualified persons with blindness to begin work in federal buildings.

Learn more about resources now available to individuals with disabilities here.


Congress passes the National Mental Health Act and creates the National Institute of Mental Health.

These steps led the federal government to pass the Mental Health Study Act. This was a major step in the advancement of mental health research and care.

See how The National Institute of Mental Health continues its important work here.


Congress passes legislation prohibiting discrimination based on physical handicap.

This is the first antidiscrimination law of its kind and was written to aid returning World War II veterans in securing employment in United States Civil Service.


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is passed.

Section 504 represents the first set of civil rights laws and anti-discrimination laws for people with disabilities. This expands upon the legislation passed in 1948 to include all disabilities.

See more about this groundbreaking legislation from the Department of Education here.


Students at Gallaudet University School for the deaf protest the hiring of a non-deaf University president.

Students felt that a deaf person should lead a school for deaf people. The ‘Deaf President Now' protests and showed the importance of having individuals with disabilities in charge of their own organizations.

See photos and learn more about the protect here.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is passed.

The ADA was the culmination of all the prior efforts and legislation and is the most comprehensive piece of anti-discrimination legislation to date for people with disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and makes it illegal to treat people differently or unfairly if they have a disability.

Learn how you can partake in the 25th Anniversary celebration by clicking here.


Olmstead v. L.C and E.W. Decision upholds ADA Integration Mandate.

In a major step for community integration, the Supreme Court struck down the appeal to enforce institutionalization for individuals with disabilities in favor of community living.

Learn more about the landmark decision here.


The College of Direct Support (CDS) is developed.

This new approach to training Direct Support providers created at the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center empowers professionals to better help individuals with disabilities be part of the community.

The research center continues to conduct revolutionary research that you can learn more about here.


The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAA) becomes law.

According to Congress, the ADAAA was passed "to carry out the ADA's objectives of providing a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination' by reinstating a broad scope of protection to be available under the ADA."

Learn more here.


The College of Employment Services (CES) is created.

Developed by the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, CES is delivered through collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living and Elsevier. This curriculum brings a fresh approach to the industry by providing employment professionals with training based on the APSE competencies, enabling them to assist individuals with disabilities in finding rewarding employment.

The ICI maintains a very active role in the disability community – you can read about their most recent activities here.


New Americans with Disabilities Act rules come into effect.

These rules expand accessibility requirements to recreational facilities such as swimming pools, golf courses, exercise clubs and boating facilities.

To see a complete list of the rules that were implemented at this time, click here.


The College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC) is developed.

CPAC was created by the Community Living Policy Center (formerly the Center for Personal Assistance Services) at the University of California, San Francisco and is delivered in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and Elsevier. This curriculum was launched in response to the increasing demand for qualified personal care assistants, home care providers, and family caregivers of people with disabilities and older adults.

Learn more about the Community Living Policy Center here.


Internet-based businesses are ruled to be subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Netflix ordered to begin offering closed captions on all TV and movie content from September 2014 as part of a settlement with a deaf viewer from Massachusetts (Lee Nettles).

For more, click here.


College of Recovery and Community Inclusion (CRCI) is developed.

Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities creates the newest curriculum in the DirectCourse suite, which is delivered in collaboration with the University of Minnesota’s Research and Training Center on Community Living and Elsevier. CRCI provides training to mental health practitioners enabling them to effectively respond to the unique needs of people with mental health conditions.

See what’s new at Temple’s Collaborative here.


The Americans with Disabilities Act celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

DirectCourse is happy to celebrate in the progress made in the years leading up to, and since, the ADA was passed. However, there is much opportunity ahead.

To join us on our journey as we pursue our goal to ensure all people with disabilities are part of the community, subscribe to our newsletter.