The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, was established in 1966 and has sought to serve and improve the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the promotion of policies and programs that embrace self -determination and independence.
The two new appointees are Peter Bell and Jack Martin Brandt. Mr. Bell is the executive vice president for programs and services at Autism Speaks, the former president of Cure Autism Now. As with any appointment, there is also criticism. Some opponents to Bell believe him to have an anti-vaccine agenda. The link between autism and vaccines has generally been discredited and rejected. Mr. Brandt has been the disability policy specialist for the Partnership for People with Disabilities where he has focused on developing and promoting practices to improve self-advocacy for people with disabilities.
An example recently in the news of an individual with a significant disability fighting for herself is a law student who just past the bar exam. The individual, who is legally blind, was told she had the choice of a human reader or audio CD for taking the examination. Instead, after a protracted battle, she was allowed to use a computer with an accessible screen-reading program known as Job Access With Speech (JAWS).