My quality of life has improved.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Autism Assistance, Fundraising, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

21 Andrew & Nora21. My quality of life has improved.

The ADA guarantees many rights and services for people with disabilities that no law did in the past. Housing and air travel were protected under other previous laws, but the ADA was the first comprehensive law for disability rights, covering employment, telecommunication, and public accommodation – which includes public access coverage for task trained service dogs. These promised rights, aren’t just rights at all. They have increased the quality of life for individuals and families for 25 years.

Meet Andrew & Nora. Without Nora, Andrew would have a particularly hard time navigating the world. As his mom says, “Autism is a marathon, not a sprint”, and together they are covering miles. The ADA helps them get those resources needed to safely access public accommodations and their school, together. Nora loves Andrew unconditionally, something that is sometimes hard for the unaware and unprepared public to do. Nora helps Andrew connect with his teachers and peers in their school environment, and Andrew has made strides in his schoolwork too. Quality of life is hard to measure, but it’s certainly obvious when things are better.

“My husband is a coach at a very large high school in Texas (think Friday night lights!) and I cannot manage games alone with the threat that Andrew will bolt…so we tether. When Andrew has a meltdown, it isn’t a temper tantrum. He’s on sensory overload. His anxiety is overwhelming. The lights are just so bright. Some of them even make noise only he can detect. The music is too loud. You put on too much of your terrible perfume…” and Nora helps with that, she make his life better.

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

Universal designs enhance the experience for everyone, but are necessary for my participation.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

20 Katie & Kyto20. Universal designs enhance the experience for everyone, but are necessary for my participation.

Universal design is the idea of designing environments, such that all people have the best possible experience. This means accommodations required for people with disabilities to participate also enhance the experience for others. Like accessible bathrooms that also benefit a mom and her toddler, or large print guides that also assist the elderly. The ADA doesn’t require universal design, but has increased awareness and accessible concepts throughout our communities.

This is Katie and her service dog Kyto at Morgan’s Wonderland. It is the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone. Katie and her family all enjoyed the park, together. Inside you can find everything from playgrounds, sensory areas, a music garden, a walk and roll path, and Katie & Kyto’s favorite – the water works. Here Katie was in charge; she could play and laugh and even teach Kyto how to enjoy the water elements. It was designed such that she could participate fully, as it existed, without need for further accommodation. In this place Katie, Kyto, and every other visitor participates as they are.

“Since having Kyto enter our lives Katie has formed her first real attachment to an animal. She’s only tolerated them before. Now she seeks them out, to pet, play and cuddle. She was never able to do this before. This has helped open her to attachments to people. Before Kyto, Katie would get frustrated and hit, pinch or harm the people around her in some way. Now she seeks affection and companionship. She will randomly crawl in one of our laps just to hug us. I really believe Kyto played a huge roll in helping open this side of Katie. He’s enriched and expanded her life in more ways than I could ever say”.

Celebrate ADA! Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I am my own legal advocate.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Autism Assistance, Fundraising, Multipurpose Assistance, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

19 Addie & Data19.  I am my own legal advocate.

When Congress prepared and finalized the ADA, they had no intent to diminish or invalidate any rights granted by other federal, state, or local laws and specifically wrote this into the regulation.  This means state laws can offer greater access than the federal law or work to make federal law explicitly clear within the setting of state legal proceedings.

This encourages all people to become their own legal advocates, working towards the best possible set of local, state, and federal laws for public access.  In New Jersey, Addie & Data, along with their super supportive mom and sister, worked swift and quick to make sure the pair were welcomed and loved in their school.  While doing this they found that NJ has specific laws allowing service dogs in school buildings and on school grounds, but nothing that clearly stated service dogs must also be permitted on school buses.  Working together with their Assemblyman, the Gill family watched Governor Chris Christie sign “Addie’s Law” this spring, making clear the requirement for accepting service dogs on school buses and reiterating other aspects of the ADA.

“We are so proud of Addie’s Law.  We hope to continue being legal advocates, especially where handlers for service dogs in schools are concerned.  Because Addie’s Law was a success, children in NJ who were having issues with school transportation won’t anymore”.

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I can join my friends to PLAY!

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Multipurpose Assistance, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

18 Aiden & Kelcy18.  I can join my friends to PLAY!

The ADA provides individuals with disabilities access to programming and removal of physical barriers to facilities.  This means all kiddos get to participate with their peers, both in integrated and specialized activities! 

Aidan and Kelcy just look like a playful pair.  Aidan is an active kiddo, and participates in both dance and tennis.  They have also enjoyed the summer sun at a local accessible playground.  For quiet time, Aidan and Kelcy frequent their local library.  All things ones might expect of a kid, and because of the ADA, Aidan gets to experience them with Kelcy, and without barriers.

“Our lives have been forever changed by 4 Paws for Ability, With Kelcy by Aidan’s side, we know that he won’t wander away from her, but if he does we have the peace of mind that she will find him quickly.  This allows us to let Aidan play without the stress of losing him in a crowd.  Kelcy keeps him safe and he can just be a kid, enjoying the activities he loves.”

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I live in a world that I can trust.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Multipurpose Assistance, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

17 Anna & Cadi17. I live in a world that I can trust.

This is Anna and her service dog Cadi.  Cadi helped Anna in a lot of ways; with walking, with picking up dropped objects, and importantly with trusting the world around her.  When Anna was unsure of stairs, Cadi patiently waited, while Anna determined how high each step was.  The ADA allowed Cadi to accompany Anna everywhere, even to school and on hospital visits, increasing her comfort and trust.  Anna could accomplish anything with Cadi by her side!  Her trust in Cadi helped her on her best days, like family vacation to an accessible Candyland themed playground; and on her not so great days, where her medical conditions were difficult to overcome.  Together, Anna and Cadi were the best pair.

Anna passed away in 2012, with her family by her side.  With Cadi, Anna trusted.  Thanks to her service dog and the protection of the ADA law, she could trust everywhere she went.  Her family and friends through Angels for Anna continue to trust the world – to trust that people are good, and have the capacity to do something nice, for someone else, every day.  Today, for Anna and Cadi, do something nice.

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

Public transportation is accessible to me.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

16 Danielle and Bobo16. Public transportation is accessible to me.

The ADA requires that public transportation is accessible.  This includes wheelchair lifts on buses, elevators to subway station stops, and accessible seating within transportation sources.  Even school buses must be made accessible!

This is Dani and her service dog Bobo.  For 37 years the Ohio Department of Education has provided school bus drivers with advanced training, each summer.  In 2013 Dani and Bobo became the first service dog team to participate in this training, assisting the school bus drivers with hands-on drills of fire evacuations.  Since Dani and Bobo use the bus to get to school, this helps keep them safe, but also helps keep children with disabilities and their service dogs across the state of Ohio safe.  They have participated in training more than 1200 Ohio school bus drivers over 3 summers.  Dani also received the first ever “Danielle Kneisly Award” given out by the Ohio Department of Education, which will be given out to people who advance the care of students during transport to and from school.

“Danielle doesn’t have a dis-ability.  She has a different ability.  We will forever be grateful for the door Bob Harmon and the Transportation Department opened for Dani.  In her life there are a lot of things she won’t get to participate in…being able to participate in the advanced driver program has opened a door for her to change lives that even a typical young person may never have the opportunity to do.”

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

I can thrive in athletics through adaptive sports.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Seizure Alert, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

15 Richard & Roper15.  I can thrive in athletics through adaptive sports.

With the ADA has come a greater acceptance for persons with disabilities and inclusion of them.  Adaptive sports allow kiddos like Richard to enjoy friendly competition, sun, and fun!  Richard needs his service dog Roper by his side, and the ADA ensure that this happens everywhere, even on his baseball diamond.  The ADA also helps other kiddos with accommodation needs access the programs and adaptive sports they are interested in.  Richard (and Roper!) are a part of the @Miracle League of Lehigh Valley, where they are loved and accepted by their teammates and all of the volunteers, coaches, and staff that make the game possible.

“Since Roper, Richard is more comfortable with crowded situations, and is more willing to try new things.  He is able to stay in situations longer as long as he knows Roper is near by.   This year for the Miracle League is the first year for the team photos that he actually wanted to stand with the team with Roper and actually was happy to do the team photos!”
 
Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

My family can experience things we have never experienced before.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Multipurpose Assistance, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

14 Ben & Dubs14.  My family can experience things we have never experienced before.

This is Ben and his service dog Dubs (007). Dubs, as permitted by the ADA law, accompanies Ben everywhere, from school to hospital stays.  Dubs’ assistance allows Ben to be more independent and be a part of his community. Importantly, Dubs has helped his entire family participate in activities and events they never imagined possible. Family functions are safer with a service dog dog by their side.  Holidays and birthdays have been celebrated, and Dubs is a constant companion throughout.  In each of these new, unexpected moments, Ben and his imagination thrives.

“Each day, we marvel at how much Ben continues to grow with Dubs by his side.  The ADA has helped us educate many and has made the world wide open for Ben.”

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

Curb cuts, good for moms and dads with strollers, rollerbladers, and me!

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Fundraising, Mobility Assistance, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

13 Megan & Monkey13. Curb cuts, good for moms and dads with strollers, rollerbladers, and me!

This is Megan and her mobility assistant service dog, Monkey.  Megan and Monkey navigate through the world using a wheelchair.  As early as the 1940’s Kalamazoo, Michigan was installing curb cuts to assist their community of veterans with disabilities.  Yet, they weren’t required as an accessible accommodation in this country until the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990?  Megan and Monkey need curb cuts to more easily navigate their environment, but that doesn’t mean they don’t help others.  Strollers and rollerbladers use them too, along with almost anyone who has ever walked on a sidewalk.  Curb cuts allow Megan independence to move through her day at school, work and everywhere she wants to go.  They also allow her to be a part of the community.  With Monkey, curb cuts, and other provisions of the ADA Megan can go anywhere she wants!

“The ADA law has helped me and my service dog Monkey go to places on my own that I would not have been able to go without it”.

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

My disability can’t always been seen, but I still have access to help.

By | ADA 25 Celebration, Autism Assistance, Fundraising, Service Dog Education, Service Dog Stories

25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives

12 Jake & Gust12. My disability can’t always been seen, but I still have access to help.

This is Jake and his service dog Gust. Jake has classic autism and is a wanderer.  Autism, along with other diagnoses like seizure disorders and diabetes, can sometimes be invisible to outside observers. Under the Americans with Disabilities act Jake’s autism service dog is allowed to accompany him to many places that Jake originally couldn’t go or had extreme trouble going to.

Jake seems at first glance to be normal, but may be perceived as a bad child who doesn’t listen. He is an active child and Gust has allowed him to be able to be active, but safe.  As an example, Jake and Gust can visit his doctor’s office together. While tethered to Gust, Jake no longer runs in front of traffic, he no longer has constant meltdowns while in waiting rooms, and he relies on his service dog to let him know exactly what the next step will be, without fear that he will become overwhelmed or over stimulated. Jake now patiently waits for his service dog to lead the way.

“As a parent of a special needs child the relief is indescribable. People now see Jake and Gust together and without us having to ask for acceptance or accommodations the public knows that because Jake has his service dog, to give Jake the room he needs to navigate places so he won’t constantly bump into people. Gust has been an amazing help to our family and most importantly to Jake”.

Celebrate ADA!  Donate today, http://bit.ly/4PawsForADA #ADA25 #4PawsForADA

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