WOW! This month is the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I remember when I was growing up in a suburb of northern California some 60 years ago, we didn’t have “handicapped” or “crazy” people. There were non in my schools all the way through high school. You certainly didn’t to see any of “them” in town or on the street. And if you did see one somewhere you averted your eyes and turned the other way.
If anyone in your own family was not “normal” you either hid them away at home or you sent them away to an institution. It was considered a shame on the family and the family was considered defective in some way for having such a child.
My first experience with people with disabilities was working as a camp counselor for a camp for “retarded kids”. It was truly an eye opener for me. These kids laughed, played and swam just like everyone else! I was surprised! Later cam mainstreaming and my own kids accepted these students into their schools just like any other student.
Today they have friends with various disabilities and so do I. I can also freely state my own disability without fearing I will be sent away.
Most of you are too young to remember any of this, but it’s important. We need to remember. We need to keep pushing for total inclusion and acceptance and integration.
And we need to take time to celebrate how far we have come. HAPPY ADA DAY TO ALL!