By KODEY TONEY
My classmates and I just started talking today about our 20-year class reunion coming up next spring. That made me think about what a great group of friends I had in school.
I also started thinking about what a great group of people I work with now who are my friends, and what a great family I have. I wondered what it would be like if I didn’t have those friends in high school.
What would work be like if I didn’t have those friends and coworkers, and what would life be like if I didn’t see my family every day?
This also sparked me to think what life would be like for Konner if it weren’t for his friends in school. He has such a great support system with his fellow classmates.
What will his life be like later when hopefully he gets a job?
What would life be like for any of us if he were placed in a home and we could only visit him?
These may seem strange, but a little over five years prior to my graduating high school an act was signed that helped make sure that the same life that has made me happy is readily available for my child on the spectrum.
There were many other things leading up to the Americans with Disabilities Act that was signed July 26, 1990. As we come upon the 25th anniversary on Sunday I would like to share a brief history.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) actually got its start in 1973 with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. However, it opened the door to many other great laws and regulations to help our children with special needs. One of these of course is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which states that my son, and others with disabilities, are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
This means that Konner can, and will, get a public education in a classroom with his peers. He will also have the opportunity to live in the world at his will, and have a job if he wants.
Now, it’s a little more complicated than that, but honestly not much.
A walk to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ADA is planned for Sunday at the Capitol in Oklahoma City. This is a great way for families to show their appreciation for the freedoms and rights that the act has allowed for everyone coping with disabilities.
For more information contact Ellyn Hefner at 405-640-9408, or me at [email protected].
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