Happy 19th birthday, ADA!

In my recent wandering around on the Web, I came across mention that the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed 19 years ago today. (Both links open in new windows.)

I wish I could say that the US is so full of compassionate individuals that being out and about with Lily never caused me (or her) any grief. Alas, that’s not true. Don’t get me wrong – there are many, many wonderful individuals, and a lot of people who are compassionate and generous and understanding. A subset of those have never been confronted with the realities of having, say, a mobility problem, but respond very well when such issues are raised. But there are a lot of people out there who are decent folks who can’t be bothered to leave their morning coffee for thirty seconds when they see me struggling to open the door to the coffee shop wide enough to get Lily’s wheelchair through, while trying to keep her calm.

Lily often treats her wheelchair as an extension of herself, and has been known to throw tantrums when people trip over it…even if it’s in the foyer and she’s in another room. She doesn’t like it when I have to shift her chair around at the entrance to the store. Wheelchair accessibility is no laughing matter with us, even though she can and does walk with her walker, holding our hands, or even the rare independent few feet.

So, my thanks to everyone who made the ADA happen! Lily’s life and mine are easier because of it.

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