October 11 – Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1962 to provide athletic training and competition for persons with intellectual disabilities. The organization grew into an international program, enabling more than one million young people and adults to participate in Olympic-type sporting events each year. The first International Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago in 1968.
October 12 – In 2004, a coalition of disability rights advocates and organizations held the first Disability Pride Parade. Organizers expected 500–600 people to attend the event, which was designed to ―change the way people think about and define disability, to break down and end the internalized shame among people with disabilities, and to promote the belief in society that disability is a natural and beautiful part of life.‖ Almost 2,000 supporters attended.
October 13 – The National Council on Disability was established in 1978, as an advisory board within the Department of Education. Its purpose is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all people with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability, and to empower them to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.
October 14 – The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that the military discharged 160,000 active Service members and 110,000 Reserve and National Guard members in 2011. Statistically, about 32,000 of those veterans joined the ranks of nearly 1 million veterans already unemployed. For young, male veterans (aged 18–24), one out of every three was looking for work, almost double the unemployment rate of their nonveteran peers.
October 15 – The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Association members first began selling forget-me-nots in 1926 to support DAV services needed by veterans who were disabled in World War I. The blue flower signifies the spring flowers that grew on the graves of comrades killed during the first World War. The tradition continues today.
October 16 – Veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent in August 2012, about the same as the rate for veterans with no disability at 7.1 percent.
October 17 – The last “Ugly Law” was repealed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1974. These laws allowed police to arrest and jail people with “apparent” disabilities for no reason other than being disfigured or demonstrating some type of disability.