From Disability Blog: (click for full article)
When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted, I was only six years old. At that time, I don’t think I knew what it, or a disability, was. Yet, even before I was aware of its existence, the ADA and related laws made it possible for me to attend public schools and enjoy movies, restaurants, museums, parks, vacations and all of the other activities that an integrated life with friends and family offers.
But perhaps more importantly, the existence of the ADA has allowed me to grow up never doubting that I was a full and equal citizen, someone with worth and dignity, who had talents and skills to share with the rest of the world. It never crossed my mind that I was somehow inferior or had less to contribute than anyone else. As one school administrator told my parents when they inquired about enrolling me in a “special” school for children with disabilities, “There is nothing wrong with your daughter. She just can’t walk.”
The path that my life has taken since then has proven him right. With the love, patience and support of my friends and family, I have thrived and made the most of the opportunities that would not have been available but for the ADA. I excelled in school, lived in a dormitory at college, moved into my own apartment in Washington, D.C., graduated from law school and now, against all odds, I have become an attorney who represents the United States as it enforces the ADA. The overlap between my own experiences and my work in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is striking.