As we close in on the ADA become 30 years old on July 26th, staff here at dC were presented with the prompt: What does the ADA mean to you?
The ADA impacts lives in multiple ways and can have varying degrees of importance to individuals. Below are some responses as we share how the ADA has interacted with our lives and how we feel about the ADA.
What does the ADA mean to me?
That is a wide range kind of question. It’s everything from being able to have accessibility into any building; to laws allowing me to be treated like everyone else.
In a nut shell, “the ADA allows me to actually live the life that I always wanted without any barriers.”
Mindy Albert - Information & Referral Specialist
Accessibility and Accommodations. That’s what I think of when asked what the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) means to me. I was 5 years old when the 1990 enactment of the ADA became law with its seismic shift towards public opportunities and services for people with disabilities. I am now grateful for their hard work and awed at what they accomplished nearly 30 years ago. There is still work that can be done, but I know I wouldn’t be able to have done what I have without them laying the groundwork and starting to break down barriers. Although there are areas that can be improved upon, I have had a far easier path to take in getting an education, going out with friends, traveling around the country, and getting services to live as independently as possible thanks to the people that took on the government for the civil rights of people with disabilities.
Brian Elliott - Advocacy & Accessibility Manager
Growing up in a country (Germany) that did not have the ADA and then coming to the U.S. I appreciate the opportunities the ADA brings to all of us. The Americans with Disabilities Act helps to level the playing field so that people can live a life that is not dictated by disability, but ability, a life of meaning and value.
According to the CDC one in four U.S. adults have a disability, and most people, in the course of their lives, will either experience a disability or know someone who has one. This shows that disability is not an exception or abnormality, but a normal part of life. Sooner or later we are all likely to experience limitations in some areas of life.
Ina Correll - Quality Assurance & Administrative Assistant
What does the ADA mean to me? I have lived the entirety of my life—starting as far back as age 6—under the cloud of depression and anxiety.
It wasn’t until I was 25 years old that I sought any treatment. I thought that I was experiencing the effects of being naturally incapable of dealing with life, but I didn’t have any option but to try to work my way out of my problems.
I began taking medication and attending therapy. I began to see how many of the challenges I had experienced in school, in social situations, and in employment—had all stemmed from an un-diagnosed mental health disability.
The ADA established rights for individuals with disabilities and lays out the responsibilities for those in positions of power. It levels out the playing field for people whose disadvantages lie not in having a lack of capacity, but in living in a society that doesn’t ensure equal access and opportunity for all. The ADA created an opportunity that I didn’t know I had.
Nick Swallow - Independent Living Specialist
Now it is your turn and there are no right or wrong answers.
Simply leave your response below in the comments to share how you feel about the ADA and how it interacts within your daily life.
What does the ADA mean to you?