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Celebrating the ADA as Someone With Epilepsy

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This Thursday, July 26 will be the 28th anniversary of the ADA. How will you celebrate this year?

My life has changed since I first wrote “The ADA Celebrates 25 Years Ago!” seen below a few years ago. Instead of going to Dodger Stadium that day, I went to the Special Olympics which just happened to be in Los Angeles that summer. I unexpectedly met some friends there, and met people from around the world. The joy around the campus that day was phenomenal!

Outside the Special Olympics.I am still driving, I’m now a 31-year epilepsy veteran, but I’ve had other health issues which, after much personal deliberation, forced me to get a disability placard so I can still be active.

Other relevant stories:
Can People with Epilepsy Drive
How Does Epilepsy Affect Daily Life
Famous People with Epilepsy 

I’ve met many people over the years who are fighting for the rights of others — including Tony Coelho and Richard Pimentel who were instrumental in getting the ADA through Congress making life better for us today. Richard has left us, but you can still see videos online as well as a movie, “Music Within,” about his life and struggles that led him to become a disability advocate.

I might not be driving up the coast as I’ll be at work on Thursday, but I’ll still be thinking of all of those who helped make life better, both locally and nationally, for those of us with disabilities. Thank you!
At the Special Olympics, they had a card for everyone to write on.

The ADA Celebrates 25 Years!

Almost 25 years ago, Representative Tony Coelho and many other representatives voted to pass the Americans With Disabilities Act.  On June 26, 1990 this bill was signed by President Bush.

This Sunday we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

I have use of all my limbs. I can see. I can walk. I can hear. Growing up, I thought someone who was disabled had something major happen to them in which they couldn’t perform their daily functions regularly. Being diagnosed with epilepsy was definitely a major life-changing experience. So am I disabled?

The Americans With Disabilities Act covers hidden disabilities such as epilepsy. Disabilities aren’t always visible, as many people know.

Epilepsy is a chronic condition that I have had for 29 years.  I am lucky compared to many others with epilepsy in that my seizures are under control, but it hasn’t always been this way.

  • I had my license revoked.
  • I have dealt with discrimination.
  • I have dealt with numerous side effects that have affected my ability to work at times.
  • When I graduated, I couldn’t get health insurance to cover my epilepsy.
  • My medical expenses have always been a major expense.

Again, am I disabled?  Technically, yes.

How has the ADA helped me?

  • I was able to qualify for alternative transportation options when I was unable to drive.
  • My work made reasonable accommodations for me as needed.
    • Changed my work schedule so I could participate in a clinical trial.
    • Allowed me to take a nap following a seizure to recover.
    • Enabled me to take longer breaks and a shorter lunch when my appetite was affected by my medication.
  • I was able to get an annual disabled bus pass for a much cheaper rate, helping me financially.

A special thanks to the staff at Morgan Library from Colorado State University for being so accommodating during my “rough years.”

Celebrate the ADA!

So, how am I going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of such an event…well, there are various events going on throughout the nation.

Locally, we have at least two events going on at both Dodger Stadium and the Inland Empire 66ers. At Dodger Stadium, they want to break the Guinness World Record for the most moving wheelchairs in a line.  The prior record was set five years ago at the 20th Anniversary ADA Celebration at Dodger Stadium. If time and traffic permit, I just might make both ADA celebrations — or I might just enjoy my freedom in a drive up the coast!

Check to see what is going on in your area and check out the ADA Anniversary Pledge.

Celebrate your abilities!

Ready to drive my car!

Originally published: July 25, 2018
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