Blindness, The ADA & Unrealized Civil Rights

In 1989 when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was being formulated, many people were involved. The main architect of the law’s drafting was Senator Tom Harken of Iowa, one of the Senate’s great lions of disability rights. Senator Harken’s brother was deaf, and he had a great sensitivity to those concerns. Mary Jane Owen,…

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My Brother Mark and Me

I was five years old when my little brother was born. He was early and immediately the doctor knew there were problems. My mother was told in the language of the 1950’s that while he did not look like a mongoloid, he had the reflexes of an infant with severe mental retardation. The doctor said…

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My Life With The Theater

Junior High offered exposure to the organized arts including theatre and musical groups. In seventh grade, I had my first experience with Student Theater. The whole school attended performances of plays produced by actors from the eighth and ninth grades. I loved the plays and admired the older students on stage. They memorized their lines…

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An Open Letter to Helen Keller

Dear Helen, My life with you has had four major epochs. I write this letter today as the second open letter I have composed to you. The first was when I was 40 in 1989. I read it during my induction into the National Hall of Fame for People with Disabilities. When I was told…

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Now I Get It!

Accessibility is complicated. For those who use wheelchairs for mobility, all required specifications for access are detailed in the ADAAG, Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. For those of us with sensory disabilities, a few simple rules apply. First, everything that is spoken should be presented in American Sign Language by a qualified interpreter. Second,…

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