This week, DD Ombuds is celebrating Lois Curtis, who was instrumental in getting the Olmstead Decision passed. The Olmstead Decision allowed for people with disabilities to be independent, in addition to ending the segregation between people with and without disabilities. To learn more about the Olmstead Decision watch this quick video from Disability Rights Washington.
Curtis had a rough upbringing, mainly because as a child they allowed her to live in able-bodied society because there was a lack of funds but her community was not equipt to help her, resulting in Curtis constantly getting in trouble. As a result, at age 11, she was sent to an institution where she stayed in for 18 years even though she could live in the community.
In 1995, progress began when Sue Jamieson, a legal aid attorney challenged Olmstead who was the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Human Resources for not placing Curtis in adequate housing.
The Supreme Court agreed that Curtis should have not been placed in an institution and as a result passed the Olmstead Decision. This means that now a person with a disability can live with other able-bodied people if their medical professional deems them fit, the person with a disability wants to live in society, and they have accommodation to be around other people with disabilities.
The Olmstead Decision allows Curtis to live an apartment with her caregiver. Curtis today works as an artist. Here is her drawing titled “Women of Olmstead.”