How has the ADA impacted your life regarding travel/mobility, education, employment, or any other aspect?
Education. I’ve worn hearing aids since age 5, 1976, and was mainstreamed through school with great teachers along the way. In 2012, I learned I was losing some vision, so a career change from graphic designer to something else was in store for me. This is where college and university helped once again, as they had services to ensure I had equal access to teachers and textbooks which led me to my current career as a Deaf-Blind Specialist with Helen Keller National Center. The focus of my job is employment for others who are Deaf-Blind in the state of Iowa.
Can you share a “before and after” experience; e.g., before the ADA I couldn’t do X or was denied access to Y, and thanks to the ADA I can do Z.
I had one teacher who would not wear the FM System for me during class. This is essentially a microphone that was only connected to my hearing aids so I could better hear/understand the teachers. I tried one class without it, and the room was like a gymnasium, sound quality was poor without my FM System. I had a different teacher the next day, but in the same classroom; this different teacher had also refused in the same manner as the first one to wear the FM System. I advocated for my right to an education and that I needed them to wear this microphone. I also added that the teachers are there to teach us, and we pay their salaries, so if they wanted to continue teaching, they needed to wear the microphone. They wore it and I never had any issues after that.The ADA laws give us equal access to our society, nothing extra or special, just equal.
What advances in disability rights would you like to see in the next 30 years?
Society is continuously changing and growing, so the equal access needs to keep up with these changes and grow with the needs.