About face on accommodating for disabilities

 The Columbia Tribune has an article by Spencer Turner that tells how he made a complete about-face on support for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

I remember sitting in on an office discussion in late 1989 about what was going to happen when Congress passed and our president signed the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). And I remember thinking this would cost my agency a bundle as we remodeled buildings to allow individuals in wheelchairs and on crutches easy access to the second floor; as we made changes in entries and walks; as we made changes in restrooms; as we designed accessible public fishing and hunting accesses; and as we discussed the need to hire individuals with disabilities. ADA came to pass in 1990, and now, 20 years later, part of all public facilities, cities and agencies. . . . 

The ADA’s primary goal was to bring people with disabilities into the mainstream of the American economy.

At the time, I disagreed with what was happening and with what I considered excessive. Boy was I wrong.

This year, I joined the ranks of the disabled, the individuals the ADA was designed to help, and am redesigning my life to accommodate.

Like Turner, most of us think when we are accommodating for people with disabilities we are taking care of someone else--about 18% of the population has a disability, meaning that 82% of us don't.

But in the long run, we're all disabled--100%.  Young children (and parents, who push them in carriages or strollers) benefit from curb ramps, automatically opening doors, pedestrian signals that allow sufficient crossing time of wide roads, and many other accommodations required by ADA.

Over the course of a lifetime, almost every adult becomes temporarily disabled at one point or another--from a sprained ankle, broken bone, or serious illness.

And the average adults outlives the ability to drive by ten years.  That means getting about by bicycling, walking, transit, and eventually walker and/or wheelchair.