A Letter from The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities

The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services extends our deepest sympathies to the immediate and extended family of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, upon her passing August 11. We honor Mrs. Shriver's memory and her accomplishments on behalf of people with developmental disabilities.

Eunice Shriver was close to her older sister Rosemary Kennedy, who had developmental disabilities, and became her champion and advocate on behalf of all individuals with developmental disabilities. In 1960, when their brother John Fitzgerald became President of the United States, the Kennedys revealed to the world that they had a family member with an intellectual disability and spearheaded reforms to respect and value individuals with disabilities and their rights.

Eight years later, Eunice Shriver founded Special Olympics which teaches, she said, "that all human beings are created equal in the sense that each has the capacity and a hunger for moral excellence, for courage, for friendship, and for love."

Mrs. Shriver changed how people around the world view people with disabilities. "She moved humanity from the dark into the light," said NASDDDS Executive Director Nancy Thaler.

Let us keep in mind Mrs. Shriver's inspiring words to individuals with developmental disabilities:

"You are the stars and the world is watching you. By your presence, you send a message to every village, every city, every nation. A message of hope. A message of victory. The right to play on any playing field-you have earned it. The right to study in any school-you have earned it. The right to hold a job-you have earned it. The right to be anyone's neighbor-you have earned it!"

About The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities

The Association's goal is to promote and assist state agencies in developing effective, efficient service delivery systems that furnish high-quality supports to people with developmental disabilities. In pursuit of this goal, NASDDDS strives to provide member state agencies with timely analysis of federal statutory and regulatory policies that affect people with disabilities; disseminate cutting edge information on state-of-the-art programs and service delivery practices; provide technical assistance and support to member states; and offer a forum for the development of state and national policy initiatives. Learn more about NASDDDS