Life in a post-ADA world

DC Intern Jennifer Lee at the Washington Mall

Intern Jennifer Lee overlooking the Mall, Washington D.C.

Every year the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) runs a summer internship program that brings students with disabilities from across the country to our nation’s capital to work in government, non-profit, and private sectors. This summer we at Easter Seals Headquarters were fortunate to have one of the AAPD interns working with us in our office in Washington, D.C. During her time with Easter Seals, Jennifer Lee’s primary project was to update our Autism State Profiles to reflect new autism services and new legislation across the country.

Soon Jennifer will return to her senior year at Brandeis University where she is pursuing a double major in Health, Science, Society and Policy and American Studies.

Because of the ADA

by Jennifer Lee

I was born in 1992, two years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. Today I am a young person with a disability, and I have never known life without the ADA.

I feel fortunate to live in a post-ADA world. Thanks to the ADA, I have access to competitive employment. Employers benefit from the ADA, too: when interviewing and hiring people with disabilities, they are able to focus entirely on abilities.

In conjunction with employment, the ADA also grants people with disabilities protection from discrimination at the local and state levels. This allows people with disabilities to be integrated members of society. The ADA has forever changed the way people with disabilities are treated and viewed in America.

When I was selected as an intern under the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Summer Internship Program this year, I was placed in an internship at the Easter Seals office in Washington, D.C. After learning and witnessing the positive impact of the ADA firsthand, I joined my fellow AAPD 2013 interns to create, produce and execute a YouTube video called “Because of the ADA.”

I’m very proud of this video. It holds true to the ADA and demonstrates the many, many ways the legislation has changed the lives of young people with disabilities. In addition to highlighting our rights because of the ADA, the video includes a “But I Wish” section emphasizing the rights and privileges that those of us with disabilities still hope to have one day, and what our fellow Americans can do today to help us reach those goals.

Many thanks to the Government Relations Team at Easter Seals for a very special summer. Thanks also to the AAPD and my fellow 2013 interns for all the hard work on this sensational video. Lead On!


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