ADA: Why is it needed?

Quite a few years ago, I was getting ready to administer a basketball game when a local patron informed that we did not have the handicapped parking signs in the right place.

In the midst of all of my pregame duties, my thoughts were not too kind. I actually thought he was overreacting just a bit.

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. I noticed a couple who got out of their car in a handicapped parking zone and walked into the restaurant without any apparent difficulty. They did not sprint to their seat, but I could not see any problem.

I have been educated by people “in the know” that you cannot always see a physical disability. I might also add that this disgruntled patron of many years ago has become a good friend. Why the difference in my attitude? I now have many friends who have a handicap and so do I.

It has taught me a great lesson: to not judge someone until I have walked in their shoes.

The American Disabilities Act was passed on July 26, 1990. It was introduced by Senator Harkin from Iowa. Our own senator, Bob Dole, was very influential in crafting this bill. It was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. It provided for handicap accessibility to all public buildings and facilities.
At the time I was a little bit concerned about the cost and work involved in meeting those guidelines. Was it absolutely necessary? It was determined if we wanted to renovate an old school gym, for instance, we would have to spend a huge amount of money to make it handicap accessible. The doors to buildings and classroom would have to be adjusted.

It was hard for me to see that, when I did not need such conveniences at the time.

My life has changed a lot since 1983 when I was diagnosed with MS. In recent years I have resorted to using a walker and scooter. For me, it has been a Godsend when I want to go long distances.

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