Sunday, July 26, 2015

Celebrating 25 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Today Philip and I talked about the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a monumental legislation for people with disabilities. "Nothing about us, without us!" has been the rallying cry of the Disability Rights movement.  Much like the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s tackled the issue of racism, the ADA's goal has been to reverse the attitude of ableism, the belief that disability is an inferior state of personhood.  The ADA demands we acknowledge disabled citizens as having the same rights as non-disabled people to access employment, transportation, housing, and accommodations.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was also revised and passed in 1990 to ensure all students with disabilities the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), with an Individualized Education Program (IEP), in a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).  There have been great strides made in making public facilities accessible, but much work still needs to be done, especially in employment and education.  -Lisa

By Philip (written 7/25/15)

Talking about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes me glad I am an American living today. Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the ADA. I am going to Canalside tomorrow to celebrate. Would you like to come? America is a great country to protect the rights of all citizens.

I think that we have come a long way since 1990 but we still have a way to go. I am lucky I am not institutionalized. I am able to go to regular school with accommodations because of this law and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). In my school I have access to learning like everyone else. I am so glad my country makes laws to cancel the discrimination we once faced. I think the IDEA law attaches people to society more by allowing kids like me an education with their peers. But as an Autistic, I still see room for improvement. My friends who are nonverbal or can't communicate well are still mostly segregated from mainstream schools. I want to change that. I got the chance to leave special school because I learned RPM (Rapid Prompting Method) and how to communicate. I know many kids can learn like me. They just need the opportunity to be taught RPM. People in education should try what works for many of us who can't express ourselves otherwise. I hope we can continue to make progress. ADA makes it possible. 

President Bush signing the ADA

Copyright 2015 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

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