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Film challenges IQ testing, limits placed on people with intellectual disabilities

Wednesday, April 17, 2019




Contact: Lane Till

Office: 515-423-0992

Cell: 515-230-8851


Press kit:


Film challenges IQ testing, limits placed on people with intellectual disabilities


Iowans with Disabilities in Action, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council and the Drake University Student organization, Disability Action Awareness Community, will host a screening of the new documentary INTELLIGENT LIVES on April 30 in Des Moines at Drake University


Des Moines – INTELLIGENT LIVES, a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib, has it’s state premiere at the Sussman Theater in Olmstead Center at Drake University on April 30 at 7:00 p.m.


INTELLIGENT LIVES stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S.

“People with intellectual disabilities are the most segregated of all Americans,” Habib says.  “Only 17 percent of students with intellectual disabilities are included in regular education. Just 40 percent will graduate from high school. And of the 6.5 million Americans with intellectual disability, barely 15 percent are employed.”

INTELLIGENT LIVES is a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America.

“It is important to recognize the person and not the disability. By placing the person first, the disability is no longer the primary, defining characteristic of an individual but one of several aspects of the whole person. Once we start to recognize the unique talents everyone offers, we can truly start to create inclusive communities,” said Brooke Lovelace, Iowa DD Council executive director.

Join us on April 30 at 7:00 p.m. for the film’s screening and a discussion. Advance registration is strongly encouraged. Go to to register and learn more.

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Launched in 2002, Iowans with Disabilities in Action is a nonpartisan initiative of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council intended to increase the civic and political participation of Iowans with disabilities. There are more than 9,500 Iowans connected with the organization who are working to make a positive impact across Iowa. For more information on Iowans with Disabilities in Action, please visit or call 1-866-432-2846.

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Disability Action Awareness Community, a student-driven initiative, is a multi-faceted approach to creating a more inclusive environment for students of all abilities. Our purpose is to create a community for students with disabilities, and further Drake’s existing disability equity and inclusion programs and policies. The organization hopes to actively educate the Drake campus on all forms of disability. By spreading awareness of disability, addressing the need for a student group, and eventual policy change, DAAC hopes to successfully address all forms of ability. 

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Dan Habib is the director and producer of INTELLIGENT LIVES, and the creator of the award-winning documentaries Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?, Mr. Connolly Has ALS and many other films. Habib is a filmmaker at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability.  His films have been broadcast internationally, nominated for Emmy awards and translated into 17 languages. Habib gave the TEDx talk, “Disabling Segregation” and received the Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.  In 2014, Habib was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.