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'The ADA Changed My Life" -- Stories on the 10th anniversary

Posted July, 2000

My Life Changed After The ADA

By Nancy Duncan

In July of 1990, we were living in a new city and I was unsuccessfully searching for an after-school program for my 8-year-old son who has multiple disabilities. None of the programs would accept Daniel because of his disabilities.

I kept up with world events by listening to a recorded newsmagazine that cost four times the price of its print equivalent. I worked for an organization that felt it was unable to provide me with any compensation for my driver, and so I paid this expense out of my own pocket.

Today, 10 years after the passage of the ADA, many children with disabilities attend private daycare programs. I am offered a variety of alternative formats from many organizations, at no extral cost. My employers provide compensation for my reader/driver, understanding that this service makes me a far more productive employee.

When I attend theatrical productions I can request audio description. The train platform has detectable warnings along the edge and that makes using the transit system far less frightening. When I go to a hotel, i can be sure I am at the right room due to the Braille signage.

Everywhere I go, people are more aware of my needs as a blind peson. As I meet people across the state of Georgia, I am amazed at the new interest and opennes expressed about including people with disabilities . . .

I believe that the ADA has helped to make many people aware that we are people too and have a right to participate in everything.

Nancy Duncan
ADA Exchange of Georgia

Going for pizza

By Pamela Williamson

Pamela Williamson can be reached at 404-385-0636.

When I was a teenager, my friend Bea, a wheelchair user, and I would go to our favorite pizza restaurant. It was always a challenge to get inside. I often felt like we first ran an obstacle course -- there wasn't a ramped entrance and the curb cut was pretty high.

Once inside, you could forget about using the restroom! Her chair couldn't get through the 24-inch doorway.

Today, 10 years after passage of the ADA, Bea and I go to many restaurants together, just like everyone else. And we aren't tired before we eat. We can also use the restroom if necessary. It's wonderful to be able to socialize with friends in a comfortable setting.

Pamela Williamson is Assistant Project Director of the Southeast Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center.


More stories about changes in the ADA (from the Department of Justice)









Expert sources

From the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers:

Historical Context of the ADA

ADA definition of disability

Overview of law's structure

The ADA is changing the landscape of America -- commentary

"The ADA changed my life" -- personal stories

The meaning of "disability" under ADA

"A misunderstood law" -- commentary

The ADA Notification Act

Supreme Court ADA decisions:

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