A couple of weeks ago Shelby Hintze, a television producer and the daughter of my cousin, asked me to review the script of a segment she was planning for a local Sunday talk show discussing the ADA’s 29th anniversary.
See if you can spot the part that I helped write, Grin.
(The prepared video transcript. I am working on a transcript for the live portion.)
Voice of Shelby Hintze
“According to the 2010 Census—nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population has some sort of disability. That’s one in five people in this country. As the Baby Boomer generation ages—that number is expected to grow a lot.
Despite the sheer numbers, the unemployment rate for disabled Americans is nearly twice the rate of their able-bodied peers. But historically, that’s an improvement. 29 years ago—our country took a big step in the civil rights of disabled Americans when President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act—also known as the ADA.
Activists argued that people with disabilities were not as disabled by their bodies as they were by their environment. They had a right to access all the services of their able-bodied peers. King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet University, said, “We’re not asking for any favors. … We’re simply asking the same rights and equality any other American has.” In what is described as the biggest catalyst to the bill’s signing 60 activists left their wheelchairs and dragged themselves up the 83 steps to the U-S Capitol, in what’s called The Capitol Crawl. The bill was signed four months later. Since 2000, 181 countries have signed disability civil rights laws inspired by the ADA.
When we think of the ADA, we often think of improving access for wheelchair users. But it’s more than that. It offers protections for the deaf community, people who are blind, people with chronic illnesses.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the ADA is how it is enforced. The law is mostly complaint based. For example, while new buildings are required to have things like ramps, accessible restrooms, and Braille on signs—there is no one who checks these regulations and must be solved through mediation or court.
For example–Under Title III of the ADA, Deaf people are promised “effective communication” but that really isn’t defined by the law. So if a Deaf person goes to a doctor for example, the doctor gets to decide what “effective communication” means. In this case, it could mean the doctor decides writing notes back and forth is enough–instead of using a certified sign language interpreter, which the Deaf patient may want. The Deaf person cannot do anything legally unless they can prove the communication was ineffective. That can be very hard to prove. If they do win the case, the Deaf person is then only entitled to another appointment with that same doctor, this time with an interpreter. Title III does not allow someone monetary damages beyond legal fees.
Just recently—a Utah family made national headlines after they were denied service at an Ogden restaurant because one of the children used a service animal. That was illegal. But outside of court, there is no way to actually make people follow the law.
The ADA did a lot to change the world for disabled people. But for many activists, it is just the beginning.“
Dear Deaf Client,
You know that Code of Professional Conduct forbids me offering personal opinions.
While we are waiting for your job interview at a clothing store I will hold your purse as you try on clothes, but I will not tell you which outfit looks better.
Hello family! First of all I want to thank everyone for their concern about my absence. The outpouring of love this year continues and I am overwhelmed by the many and specific acts of kindness and thoughtful notes I have received.
I am fine.
I am better than I have been in a long while.
I took a little break to work on the book but then this happened…
This beautiful gift is the daughter of my son who we lost to suicide in July.
She arrived and everything else kind of went away for a while.
As I have said in my Rules in various ways no job or task is important enough to require you to abandon your family and the love and support of friends.
Truth be told, the book is only slightly more complete than it was. But my heart has undergone a healing miracle. I have the peace that can only come from looking into the eyes of my granddaughter (not used to that one yet) and realize I need my heart to be whole so she can break it for herself each time she leaves my arms.
She is not my son. She is who she is and who she will be.
She is all attitude and smiles like he was as a baby, but she is also herself.
But I can feel him. Wanting to hold her so I do it for him. It’s been my job for a minute-it took me a minute to overcome my fear, it went away the moment she looked at me-I could make this a full time job.
I am back though. I have a whole crop of new Rules and Notes and Random Thoughts on what you Probably Should Know.
I am starting out with a hard one for me. It makes me a bit nervous because it’s self reflective in a way I am not used to.
But that is for tomorrow. Today I am Grandpa Uncle Dale. Gruncle (Yes I know that is Gravity Falls but I’m retasking it for my own purposes).
Today is for this:
See you tomorrow.
Between Christmas and New Years I like to repost the most “popular” posts from the year.
This year that is an odd prospect because, as many of you know, I had some traumatic life events that caused some of my posts to be shared by this wonderful, loving community many more times than others. These posts were shared as much for the emotion as the content.
That gives me pause to think about what I mean when I say “popular.”
That is usually just a calculation of the most views. But, as I said, this year I cannot rely on the most viewed being the most helpful.
So I came to a decision. In this post I will include a few of those more emotionally powerful posts that may have skewed the numbers as far as views and start with the most viewed posts that are more directed at the experience of the interpreter and skill development tomorrow.
Thank you. Thank you all for the love you’ve shown this year for both me and my family.
1. Real Talk With Aunt SuperTam
2. An Open Letter to Lin-Manuel Miranda.
3. This is Where You Are.
Love to you all!