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Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!

February 1

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Government & Advocacy

  • 1800 - James Norris, an American Marine, was admitted to Bethlem Hospital. Norris's violent behavior resulted his being restrained by a permanent iron harness, collar, and chain. Norris was left like this for 10 more years before he was discovered by the public. Public outcry over his treatment led to reforms of the Madhouse Act of 1828.[1]
  • 2001 - President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative as part of a nationwide effort to "ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, make choices about their daily lives and participate fully in community life. The Initiative's goals are to: increase access to assistive and universally designed technologies; expand educational opportunities; promote homeownership; integrate Americans with disabilities into the workforce; expand transportation options; and promote full access to community life." [2]


Sports & Recreation

  • 1980 - The 2nd Winter Paralympic Games are opened in Geilo, Norway. These Games featured a demonstration of sledge downhill racing. In addition, "all classes of athletes with locomotor disabilities were able to participate."[4]


  • 2005 - Ossur officially debuts the Rheo Knee, "the first microprocessor swing and stance knee system to utilize the power of artificial intelligence. The knee has the ability to learn and adapt to its user's movements, resulting in continually improved and optimized performance."[5]


  • 1985 - Rachael Scdoris - American dog sled racer. Rachael became the first legally blind athlete to complete the Iditarod in 2006.[7]


  3. "National Technical Institute for the Deaf Timeline." RIT's 175th Anniversary website. Rochester Institute of Technology. 2004. Accessed on March 18, 2008.
  5. Ossur hf. "It's Official. Ossur's Rheo Knee® is Available." Press Release. February 1, 2005. Accessed on March 9, 2008.
  7. "Rachael's Story." The Official Rachael Scdoris Website. Accessed on March 14, 2008.