On the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Emily Ladau and Maddy Ruvolo launched Disabled Girls Talk podcast & tumblr.
Here are some excerpts from their inaugural podcast, “Generation ADA”:
Maddy: Yes. So Emily, I’m going to start off by asking you a really big question. How has the passage of the ADA impacted your life?
Emily: So my first instinct was to answer this question with one specific way the ADA’s impacted my life, but then I realized the ADA essentially infiltrates and impacts my entire life. I compare my life to my mother and my uncle, who both have the same disability that I do, and were born many years before the passage of the ADA. And there were no laws at that time ensuring equal access and equal opportunities and removing barriers and fighting against discrimination, so a lot of opportunities that are open to me were unfortunately closed to them. So that’s something that I celebrate and appreciate whenever I can, but in a way I also feel like I take the ADA for granted because even though the ADA is the reason that there are ramps, per say, in public places, that allow me to go somewhere that I might want to be with my non-disabled peers. When I’m going up that ramp I’m not thinking, “thanks ADA for making that building accessible for me.” I’m thinking, “oh right, there’s a ramp. I can get into this building like everybody else. So in a way that the fact that I’m able to take access for granted when it is available to me – unfortunately not all the time – but when it’s there and I can just appreciate it as being another part of my surroundings, I think that’s how the ADA has the biggest impact on my life. And what would you say is your big impact that the ADA has had on your life?
Maddy: Yeah, so I’m gonna go more specific here, because there’s one thing when we were talking about this that immediately sprang to mind for me and that was college. So I got sick with my chronic illness when I was in high school. And while I was in high school I had accommodations that were covered under IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. When I got to college, I was under the ADA, and the fact that I was able to go to college was completely dependent on having these accommodations, having housing – having medical housing, having academic accommodations that work with the particulars of my chronic illness. And so when I think about the ADA, I think about how I wouldn’t have been able to go to college without it. I definitely agree with you about sort of taking it for granted and about really just taking our rights for granted, which I think is good, because they’re not special privileges or things we are being gifted. They’re what we’re entitled to as human beings. We’re entitled to equal rights. And so I definitely agree with you that our sort of defining element or defining aspect of being part of the ADA generation is that we take these things for granted. And of course on days like the ADA anniversary, we celebrate those things, but yeah, in my everyday life, I don’t really think about the fact that had I been born 20 years earlier, it would have been a completely different story.
Listen to their podcast and read the entire transcript: http://disabledgirlstalk.tumblr.com/post/92900675997/disabled-girls-talk-episode-1-generation-ada-the
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These disabled girls truly rock!!
Disabled Girls Talk
Emily’s Twitter: @emily_ladau
Emily’s Blog: Words I Wheel By
Maddy’s Twitter: @maddyruvolo