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Members' Topics for Discussion > Celebrating 28th Anniversary of ADA

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message 1: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Orlopp (sharonorlopp) | 10 comments Today, July 26, 2018, is the 28th anniversary of the date President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans With Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination and guarantees civil rights of people with disabilities. The ADA paves the way for equal opportunity and access and full integration of differently abled people into society and communities.

Why does this matter? According to the 2010 census, there are over 57 million people in the US with a disability. That’s one in five Americans. 19% of our population. With the aging of the population, typically more than 2.2 million Americans join the differently abled ranks every five years.

Many of us either have a disability or have family members, loved ones, and friends who are disabled. Disabilities are non-discriminatory---they occur to people from all backgrounds, religions, races, ethnicities, genders, etc.

Reading memoirs from differently abled people helps us experience life from another’s perspective. Some of my favorite books in this genre include:

I Can See Clearly Now by Steve Hanamura. As a blind person, Steve describes walking into the Department of Motor Vehicles and cracking a joke about having a difficult time parking his car. Humor often helps put others at ease.


In An Instant by Lee and Bob Woodruff: Bob suffered a major brain injury from an explosive device in Iraq and describes his experience and road to recovery.


Standing Up After Saigon by Thuhang Tran and Sharon Orlopp: Thuhang faced significant challenges due to polio, war, poverty, family separation, and immigration. She crawled on the ground for 17 years before having surgery that enabled her to stand upright with the aid of braces and crutches.


message 2: by NancyJ (last edited Jul 26, 2018 03:35PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 141 comments Thanks Sharon for bringing this up. Those sound like interesting and inspiring books. An accident or illness could change your life in an instant, when you least expect it. Having had a (minor) traumatic brain injury, I could certainly benefit from other's stories. It affected me in large and small ways that were mostly invisible to others. People might have noticed that my speech and behavior changed without understanding why.

I was a Human Resource Director when the employment part of law went in into effect. Surprisingly top management was much more supportive of these efforts than rank and file employees. A supervisor would say "I just can't see someone like this in this company." I said, well sure you can't see it because you haven't seen it - yet. With employees we had to get past the idea that everyone in a job had to perform 100% of the same tasks in all the same ways. We had to get creative in coming up with accommodations.

I would like to see more stories about people with various types of disabilities or medical conditions in different types of occupations. Perhaps showing some of the many ways a person, job or company can figure out how to get the job done, even if they can no longer do it the same way. I think television has gotten much better at this, though often with secondary characters. It's important for people to "see" that people can often do more than you think.

message 3: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Orlopp (sharonorlopp) | 10 comments Nancy:
Thanks for your message. I was in HR and Diversity/Inclusion for many years and was excited when the ADA was passed. There are so many different disabilities---some unseen and some that are visible. It's all about valuing, respecting, and creating a sense of belonging for everyone in the workplace.

message 4: by Joy (new)

Joy (audioaddict1234) | 53 comments Like. (I’m always wishing I could like goodreads posts.) thanks for the book suggestions.

message 5: by Kay Dee (new)

Kay Dee (kdf_333) | 62 comments Joy wrote: "Like. (I’m always wishing I could like goodreads posts.) thanks for the book suggestions."

me too!

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