25 Ways the Americans with Disabilities Act has Changed Lives
20. 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”.
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