Family Advocacy

The Fialkowski Family Timeline: Intellectual Disability History

  • 1968 After five years of fighting, the Fialkowskis organized other parents in a successful attempt to get the School District of Philadelphia to provide classroom space and a teacher for individuals with severe disabilities. It was the first in the state of PA.
  • 1970 Leona Fialkowski testified before Congress to urge them to pass national legislation guaranteeing education to all children with disabilities in our nation.
  • 1973 The Fialkowskis spearheaded the opening of their own parent-run learning facility at a neighborhood center.
  • 1972-1975 After backing the PA PARC Consent Agreement and opening the doors of PA Public schools to all children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Fialkowskis herald in the passage of the Education of the handicapped Act finally breaking down the barriers across the nation for the Right to Education for all handicapped regardless of type or severity of disabilities.
  • 1980’s Leona served as one of the parent liaisons and monitors in the Pennhurst Case Master’s Office. She helped provide critical support to people and their families when they were returned to the community from Pennhurst. Her role helped insure that Pennhurst Plaintiffs and their families received proper support. She was relentless in her efforts to secure quality services for each individual.
  • 1978-1982 With a small group of the parents the Fialkowskis fought in the Federal Courts over the quality of education for people with disabilities and to gain “state of the art” education for all public school special education teachers. The decree in 1982 created the Urban Model and forced the Philadelphia school system to redesign programs for children with severe disabilities. This brought to Philadelphia the first Life Skills classes, recognized nationally as the best in the country.
  • 1989 The Fialkowskis along with another family went to court to force the state to restore $7.5 million for services to people with developmental disabilities who wwere living at home with their families. Their efforts successfully restored those funds and reopened the doors to programs for hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities who had been put out of programs.
  • 1990 The Fialkowskis went to court to try to establish standards of care for people with intellectual disabilities living in community group homes. They did this after losing one of their beloved sons in a choking incident in a group home.
  • 1994, 1996 Marion and Leona, respectively, pass. Dave and Kate become successors as the Fialkowski Family activists.
  • 2010 Kate Fialkowski becomes a Joseph P Kennedy Jr Public Policy Fellow working at the US Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities within the US Administration, Health and Human Services
  • 2011 Kate Fialkowski becomes a Lobbyist and Exec Director at The Arc Maryland:
  • 2011 Dave and Kate Fialkowski establish the Fialkowski Scholarship at Temple University
  • 2011 Dave and Kate lecture at Temple University
  • 2012 Dave and Kate Fialkowski participate in Visionary Voices Oral History project, Temple University
  • 2015 Fialkowski Papers donated to Temple University Institute on Disabilities Archives.
  • 2016 Kate Fialkowski receives her MTS in Ethicist, specializing in matters related to Interdependent Lives — people with cognitive disabilities (ID, Alzheimer’s, TBI, etc) and caregivers.
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