National Leaders in the Mental Health Aspects
of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law on July 26, 1990, the ADA is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that works to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of life. It is designed to ensure a more inclusive community, where every person has the right to participate in all aspects of society. On this anniversary, the Center for START Services recognizes and celebrates the strides that have been made over the last 30 years. We also commit to continue the work with our network to ensure that people with disabilities are able to fully participate and contribute their strengths, skills, talents, and voices to our communities.
Reflections on the Importance of the ADA
by Liz Weintraub, AUCD Senior Advocacy Specialist & host of Tuesdays with Liz
"In honor of the 30th anniversary of the ADA, I thought I would share with you, where I was and how my life was when the American Disability Act was signed. My life was much different. When the ADA was signed, I was 24. I was living a place that I was very unhappy, although I tried to be happy because I thought I should be happy because my parents wanted me to lived there. I thought my parents were my boss. So I lived where my parents wanted me to be. I worked where they wanted me to work. Until one day my friend told me about a organization called People First. At first I thought it was a political group, and I loved politics, so I got all excited. At the meeting, someone noticed that I wasn’t happy, I said, something like, "my parents are the boss," my friends said, no they are not, I cried, and yelled, yes they are. Soon after, my friend told me, why can’t you talk to your parents, I yelled and screamed like I was I a kid. I said, “you are my staff, it’s your job to talk to Mom and dad." That went on for many days. I finally talked to mom & dad, I felt scared, but with my friends behind me, I felt safe.
Now that the ADA is 30 years old, it’s my hope that people who are ADA gen, will always speak up, and if you ever get scared, please know that, like my friend who was standing by me in 1992, I will stand by you, because she believed in me, and I believe in you. I will always feel grateful to the ADA because the ADA gave me the courage to find the strength to speak up."