In honor of the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I wanted to write about all the little things that make life in a wheelchair easier thanks to the ADA. By definition, “the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.” In other words, the ADA entails everything that helps wheelchair users survive in public.
Using the Law to Demand Access
Without the ADA and the requirements they provide by law, I would have had to spend a religious holiday in the parking lot because the facility that we were visiting had set up tents and blocked the ramp into the building. It was because of the ADA that we were able to contact the local authorities who came and required them to provide access into the building. Not only has the ADA gotten me out of some very sticky situations, it also helps me live as a normal 14-year-old.
Accessible Public Areas
I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without curb cuts in sidewalks and entrances to buildings. They are there for a reason and they help people in wheelchairs get to places. On that same note, automatic doors allow me not to have to wait for somebody to hold the door open for me. I can go in and out of places whenever I want. Most hotels have accessible rooms and easy access elevators that allow my Stretto Power Wheelchair to move around with ease. All the schools in my district are incredibly disability friendly. There are elevators and ramps and other shortcuts around the school that help make it easier for people in wheelchairs to navigate.
Wheelchair Accessible Parking
One feature of the ADA which gets misused often is accessible parking. When people can’t find a spot to park in, they opt to park in the accessible parking spaces. What they don’t realize is that people actually need these spaces. Not only that, but they could also face serious consequences for using the parking spot without a handicap license or tag.
While these are just some of the very few things that the ADA has implemented, they have all made my life easier. I don’t know what I would do without the ADA!
About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.
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