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World Institute on Disability Records
BANC MSS 99/148z  
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Table of contents What's This?
  • General
  • General
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Collections
  • Provenance
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: World Institute on Disability records
    creator: World Institute on Disability
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 99/148z
    Physical Description: 109 linear feet (85 cartons, 3 boxes, 1 oversize box, 3 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1983-[ongoing]
    Abstract: The records of the World Institute on Disability, 1983-[ongoing], provide a fairly complete picture of its history since its founding in 1983. The records include founding documents, meeting records, correspondence, reports, research and publications, grant applications, training materials, and promotional materials.
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog
    Language of Material: English


    Contact Information:

    1. The Bancroft Library.
    2. University of California, Berkeley
    3. Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    4. Phone: (510) 642-6481
    5. Fax: (510) 642-7589
    6. Email:bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    7. URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu 


    Collection Processed By:
    Susan Storch
    Date Completed:
    July 25, 2003
    Finding Aid written by:
    Susan Storch


    Collection is open for research with the exception of cartons 39-85, boxes 1-3, oversize folder 3. These materials are unprocessed. Researchers interested in these unprocessed materials may submit a Notice of Interest in Unprocessed Collections form 

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the appropriate curator or the Head of Public Services for forwarding. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], World Institute on Disability records, BANC MSS 99/148 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    Deborah Kaplan, "Attorney, National Policy Advocate, and Spokesperson for Disability Rights Organizations, 1976-1990s," an oral history conducted in 1998 by Sharon Bonney, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2000.
    Deborah Kaplan Papers, BANC MSS 99/369c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Edward V. Roberts Papers, BANC MSS 99/34 cz, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Joan Leon, "Administrator at Berkeley's Center for Independent Living and the California Department of Rehabilitation, Cofounder of the World Institute on Disability," an oral history conducted in 1998 by Susan O'Hara, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2000.
    Judith Heumann Papers, BANC MSS 99/143 z. The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley


    The World Institute on Disability papers were given to The Bancroft Library by the World Institute on Disability on May 29, 1998. Additions were made on May 7, 2003.

    Organizational History

    The World Institute on Disability (WID) is a non-profit public policy, research and training center dedicated to independence for all people with disabilities. WID was founded in 1983 through the efforts of Ed Roberts, Judy Heumann, and Joan Leon, longtime disability rights activists. Roberts, Heumann and Leon saw a critical need to create awareness and policy change by producing accurate information about people with disabilities, their capabilities, and their assistance needs. WID is funded by a combination of government, foundation, corporate grants and contracts, and individual donations.
    Roberts, who was quadriplegic and used a respirator from childhood polio, was the first significantly disabled person to attend the University of California, Berkeley. He and a group of other disabled students helped start the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Berkeley. He went on to become Director of the California State Department of Rehabilitation, receiving a prestigious MacArthur Foundation "genius" award in 1985. He was the first President of WID and served as President until his death in 1995.
    Heumann, a quadriplegic as a result of childhood polio, began her career as an advocate for disability rights when she sued the New York City Board of Education for the right to teach in a school system that considered her "a fire hazard." She won the suit and went on to help start New York's Disabled in Action (DIA). In the 1970s she went West to the Center for Independent Living. In 1993 Heumann left WID to accept an appointment as Assistant Secretary at the Office of Special Education and Research Services at the United States Department of Education.
    Leon joined CIL as a volunteer proposal writer, and eventually became their chief development officer. Her skills at program design, strategy and fundraising were instrumental in launching WID. She was the organization's Vice President of Operations and Development for fourteen years.
    The Board of Directors and staff, over half of whom are people with disabilities, are respected national leaders in the disability field as well as in industry, government and social services. As a result, WID has been able to bring a diverse disability perspective to the policy arena.
    The changes in WID's internal organization over the years reflect the grants and programs of the time.
    Since 1984, WID has pioneered research on the use of Personal Assistance Services (PAS). The federally-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Personal Assistance Services (RRTC-PAS), funded in 1993, examines how PAS can promote the economic self-sufficiency, independent living and full integration of people with disabilities into society. The RRTC-PAS also researches the use of PAS in the workplace, abuse by personal assistance providers and the need for a larger, more qualified, workforce of personal assistants.
    WID's Technology Policy Division pursues a host of strategies aimed at ensuring greater access to telecommunications and electronic and information technologies for people with disabilities. This division has pioneered the field of technology policy as applied to independent living, and disability rights. WID participates in policy making at the state and federal level, advises key industry sectors and educates consumers about the principles and practices of universal design, at the blue print stage of product development and throughout the product cycle.
    The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Public Policy in Independent Living (RRTC-PPIL) was created in 1989 with a grant from the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research (NIDRR). A new grant in 1995 changed the name to the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Independent Living and Disability Policy (RRTC-ILDP). Both centers studied and disseminated information about policy issues that have an impact on independent living. The RRTC-PPIL studied personal assistance services, independent living legislation, leadership and empowerment and community assessment and change. The RRTC-PAS grew out of the focus of the PPIL on PAS. The RRTC-ILDP had five primary objectives: 1) to demonstrate and facilitate collaborations between Centers for Independent Living and other community groups in reforming and implementing public policies that respond to the needs of people with disabilities; 2) to strengthen the ability of CIL's, communities, and vocational rehabilitation agencies to increase successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities; 3) to identify and develop training and research strategies that can be used by CIL's and other groups to improve the accessibility of generic and community services for individuals with significant disabilities; 4) to disseminate the products of its research and analysis in the most appropriate and accessible media to a wide audience; and 5) to demonstrate and evaluate a research and training process based on the Participatory Action Research approach, using Independent Living principles.
    The HIV/AIDS and Disability Division, 1991-1998, conducted training on reasonable accommodations, vocational rehabilitation, legal issues, and AIDS education to employers, AIDS service providers and other interested groups. They provided education regarding HIV/AIDS as a disability and technical assistance with developing policies and procedures on HIV/AIDS.
    Judy Heumann was originally the Director of Domestic and International Policy at WID. When she left WID, Domestic Policy was dispersed among different divisions within WID, and the International Division was created. It serves as a center for the international exchange of information and expertise on disability and disability policy. WID's international activities include training, technical assistance, needs assessments, program development and evaluation, legislative and policy development, exchange programs, research, conferences, materials development, and international resources and referral.
    WID's research on Health Policy seeks to expand the accessibility, availability, array and consumer-defined quality of health and long term services in the United States to optimize the physical, mental and emotional well-being of people with disabilities. In addition to addressing physical access, Health Access and Long Term Services (HALTS) promotes cultural competency among health care providers so that patients with disabilities will be better served.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The records of the World Institute on Disability, 1983-[ongoing], provide a fairly complete picture of its history since its founding in 1983. The records include founding documents, meeting records, correspondence, reports, research and publications, grant applications, training materials, and promotional materials. Notably absent are the papers of the founding president Edward V. Roberts. Roberts's papers are arranged separately as the Edward V. Roberts Papers (BANC MSS 99/34 cz).
    The heart of the collection is in the series that document the research and advocacy functions of WID. WID staff have been particularly active on a national level in the areas of domestic disability policy, personal assistance services and access to technology and telecommunications. Many WID staff members have been appointed to presidential task forces and national committees on a variety of issues including the National Information Infrastructure and President Clinton's Health Care Reform Task Force. WID staff have been prominently involved in local efforts to improve accessibility of services such as the Alameda County Transit System and the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART), and they have served on numerous local task forces and advisory boards dealing with issues of importance to disabled persons and of value to society in general.
    The collection has been arranged into twelve series: Historical Background, Governance, WID Sponsored Conferences, Projects and Publications, Aging and Disability Project, HIV/AIDS and Disability Project, Domestic and International Policy, Health Care Issues, International, Personal Assistance Services, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Public Policy in Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Independent Living and Disability Policy, and Technology Policy.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    People with disabilities.
    Disability studies.
    People with disabilities--Effect of technological innovations on.
    People with disabilities--Government policy--United States.
    People with disabilities--Government policy--California.
    People with disabilities--Home care.
    People with disabilities--Medical care.
    People with disabilities--Rehabilitation.
    People with disabilities--Research.
    World Institute on Disability
    World Institute on Disability--Archives.