For many, it’s a thing that they don’t really think about a lot. What have they go to do with whether there exists an Americans with Disabilities Act or not?
For me, Paul, as someone who uses a wheelchair to go on with his daily life, it is as important a thing as you could find.
Let me put it this way- without the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act, my journey in the public school would have been quite different. This is true for so many others like me.
I had a wheelchair right from my childhood. No, I never experienced childhood the way normal people do.
I had met with an accident when I was young, and since then my life changed forever. However, if you thought that physical disability only meant that you weren’t able to move around as freely, it’s not. It’s a lot worse. It’s as if every service that you seem to be privileged for being denied to you – including that of education.
My mother was aiding in packing my summer camp bag when I was no older than eight years. She asked me whether I want to take some storybooks with me. I just looked at her and asked about its necessity as I still did not learn to read at that moment.
She was perplexed after knowing that I am not fond of reading. More than getting upset she was astonished by thinking that how I could have completed the second grade in school without being able to books and my school did not even mention it to her.
She soon found out that our district had actually had cut down spending on providing learning services to children with disabilities. They also could not afford to offer accommodations to such children. There was no math or reading specialist or even a resource room. There were just no separate facilities for testing.
English as a second language or ESL was the only service available at that time outside the classroom. Then my parents had to fight hard against the district to establish and get me tested for learning disabilities. That the state always told that I had no such problem that should warrant a review. My mother was told that she has unrealistic expectations and calm down.
I was really fortunate that my parents were wealthy enough to be able to carry an outside testing which indicated that I do have several learning disabilities. But the School district was still not ready to provide additional services.
They claim that they did not have enough budget for the number of students to implement such new programs. But if they do not have any testing system, how could they know?
My parents moved outside the state with me and for the first time the disabilities I had was recognised and services were given accordingly. I am a living example of the importance of ADA and what it can add to the public school students needing special services. If you I told otherwise then to share my story to prove them wrong.