Josie from Massachusetts

By Benetech, posted on

How has the ADA impacted your life regarding travel/mobility, education, employment, or any other aspect?

My daughter Madison’s development was delayed in the area of speech and at 15 months old she began early intervention services. She has been receiving various services for most of her life and has a pretty intense IEP at school. I am thankful for school choice because as it became obvious our hometown school wasn’t going to provide the best fit of services to foster the development Madison was capable of, we were able to enroll her in a nearby community with better services to meet Madison’s needs. On this long journey through a neuro-psych evaluation her diagnosis of a mild developmental delay really gave insight into how her brain functions and services that may be a better fit for Madison.

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.

Madison’s testing indicated she would do better with a specific type of reading program and her reading skills which had been lagging accelerated quite a bit when the information was put into practice. Madison has greatly benefited from her therapy services. We are particularly happy with the private services. For example OT taught her how to tie her shoes, they taught both of us the best way for Madison to manage her own hair. So many life skills that we were struggling with, OT services were critical for her learning and training us as parents how Madison needed to learn to do it. Thank goodness parent education is included as part of therapy. Her speech is so much clearer and we love the way the school and private speech therapy have partnered with us to have the most comprehensive approach to support Madison.

What advances in disability rights would you like to see in the next 30 years?

Madison has been denied some state services because they said her abilities were to advanced to qualify. Madison is tenacious and strong and smart so she doesn’t give up and always works so hard to master everything she can possibly do. As a parent I’m proud but it also breaks my heart how hard she struggles to do everything. I wish the state would make more funding available to support programs and services for Madison. At times it feels like we can’t give Madison opportunities because the need is so great for children that have more delays or disabilities that are considered more severe. It would be awesome to see as many and even more support and programs for people with all disabilities. Madison needs social opportunities, skills in self advocacy and services geared to empowering these individuals so they are not at any greater risk of sexual misconduct by others than their peers. We are concerned about how trusting she is and that because she isn’t mentally processing in the typical fashion that she may not realize the warning signals of danger that her peers would. Unfortunately, that is a scary and harsh realty in our society.

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