Jul 8, 2015

My ADA story

What does the ADA mean to me?

My name is James Harley and I am the co-editor for the Speaking Up newsletter. I was born with a developmental disability. It is cerebral palsy, a brain and nervous system condition. It limits my ability to walk like other people my age. Thankfully I live in a country where I can still live a normal life. This is made possible due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which has allowed me to be able to work and live in the community independently.

The ADA has allowed me to be able to live in my own apartment safely. The ADA requires my apartment to be fully accessible by having wide doorways and larger restrooms. My apartment also has low cabinets and a lower oven so I’m able to use it safely. These things are some of the reasons why the ADA has had a good impact on my home life environment.

The ADA has also allowed me to be able to use public transportation in my community to get to work every day. The ADA has allowed for all public transit buses to have an accessible ramp on them so wheelchair users can ride the bus just like everyone else. I have been using public transportation for the last 13 years to get to where I want to go. If it wasn’t for the ADA I wouldn’t be able to ride public transportation because before the ADA was passed none of Metro’s buses was accessible for wheelchair users. The Americans with Disabilities Act required public transportation to be accessible to people of all abilities.

The ADA has allowed me to successfully seek employment in the community and access public education. Currently I’m an employee at Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services and Walmart. I am also a student at the University of Cincinnati. I am currently a political science major and hope to one day be able to hold public office with the degree I earn.

At Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services I am an advocate as part of the Advocacy Support Team. At Walmart I am a People Greeter, and I greet customers as they come through the door. All of these things were made possible because the ADA made employers give equal employment to people with disabilities if they are qualified for the job.

The ADA has had a positive impact on my life in housing, transportation, and employment. It really has made me be able to fully reach my human potential. As we move forward into the future I hope the ADA continues to knock down barriers for people with disabilities and continue to make our society more inclusive.

How has the ADA impacted your life? Send your stories to lisa.danford@hamiltondds.org

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