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Judith E. Heumann

Judith E. Heumann is an enormously influencial woman who pioneered for equality for people with disibilities. When she was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with polio, and had to spend her life in a wheelchair. She was allowed to attend school until the 4th grade, though she did graduate from two colleges: Long Island University (1969) and University of California at Berkeley (1975). It was from the University of California at Berkeley that she received her Master of Arts in Public Health Administration. She wanted to be a teacher, but was turned down by the New York City school system because she used a wheelchair. In response, she filed a suit against them and won.

However, Judith did much with societies that envelope how much she has accomplished. She helped develop the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and also helped draft the Americans with Disabilities Act. She was Vice President of WID (World Institute on Disability) and also was the director of its Research and Training Center. Judith also helped found the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities and Disabled in Action (of which she was also president).

Judith was also a member of many groups, including the National Advisory Council of the Center for Women Policy Studies, Tools for Living in the Community, the Over 60's Health Center, the National Council on Independent Living, and the National Rehabilitation Association.

Judith, from 1975 to 1982, was Deputy Director of the Center for Independent Living, and although she was no longer the Deputy Director in 1982, she stayed a member until 1993. After 1982 until 1983, Judith served as the assistant to California's State Department of Rehabilitation.

Since June 1993, Judith has been assistant secretary of the Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and she also manages the Rehabilitation Services Administration, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and the Office of Special Education Programs. In 1995, at the International Congress on Disability in Mexico City, Judith represented the Secretary of Education Riley. Now, Judith is married to Jorge Pineda and lives in the United States' capital, Washington D.C.

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