This past July was the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Tomorrow, we begin the month of October and Fight the Flame is happy to highlight and celebrate the ADA during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The ADA has protected all people with disabilities in so many areas: accommodations, employment, transportation, and has made programs and services available by our government.

I am grateful to know the ADA’s rules are there to protect my friends and me. I know when I enter a building, there should be accommodations for me to access all that is needed: bathrooms, elevators, doorways, etc.

I appreciate that people who have disabilities in the workplace cannot be fired or discriminated against because of their disability and must be offered reasonable accommodations.

Many large corporations, such as TIAA, even have a Diverse Abilities Employee Resource Group. An entire group made up of employees with diverse abilities and caregivers.  The goal of the resource group is to “Supporting employees with disabilities and caregivers of those with disabilities.”

When I was still teaching, my classroom was on the second floor.  There was an elevator, but it was on the other side of the building. Part of my job involved visiting classes on the first floor, and checking in with the office periodically, which was also on the first floor. I was on crutches, and walking great distances was not only painful but difficult as well.  In addition, I was unable to walk from the elevator to my classroom in the allotted four minutes to get between classes, especially with all the students in the hallway. Because of the laws put in place by the Americans Disabilities Act, I spoke to the school administers and my classroom was quickly changed to a first floor classroom.

Can you think of a time when the Americans Disabilities Act played a significant role in your life?