When thinking about what the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) means for parents with disabilities, multiple answers come to mind. While one of the main goals of the ADA is to assist people with disabilities with employment, it has had a farther-reaching impact on daily life, even for a parent with a disability, than people may have originally guessed. People with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed compared to a person who doesn’t have a disability. The fact that employment is even a possibility for parents with disabilities compared to before the law existed, helps parents with disabilities be more capable to provide for their children financially because of the increased income employment allows.
Secondly, the ADA is important to a parent with a disability because it has allowed for the ability of people with hearing impairments to communicate with key people of authority in their child’s life, such as doctors and teachers who take part not only in a child’s well-being, but also in their overall development. Access to this aspect of your child’s life not only helps you as a parent with a disability take a proactive role in the child’s development, but also allows the parent an opportunity to contribute their input and make informed decisions about their child’s experience with the world around them. A bonus to this part of parenting is that because you are involved in the care of your child in this manner, it’s very likely that you’ll experience an increase in your self-esteem. The positive impact your efforts make will be evident in your child’s life. It also has the potential to build a special bond between the two of you that can last a lifetime.
The next aspect where the ADA is important for parents with a disability is that it brings accessibility for those with mobility impairments to public places. This is important because being able to access different places allows us to be active with our kids outside the home. It’s now easier to go to the movies or even cross the street because of the architectural barriers that have been removed from places like sidewalks, grocery stores, or even public restrooms so that parents with a range of disabilities can access different places with a greater amount of ease. Now, participating in everyday life with our kids in different environments isn’t an impossibility.
By no means is this list inclusive of all the ways the ADA has helped parents who have a disability. These are just some of the fundamental ones, in my opinion, that help make parenting a little easier on a regular basis. As the years pass, and for different people, the ADA has helped them in other, equally important ways through the adventure of being a parent. Although the ADA wasn’t necessarily intended to assist parents with a disability, it has opened the door for many who may have never thought that parenting might be an option for them.
While the ADA has done many things to help improve the lives of those with a disability, it’s no secret that there’s still much work to be done. Due to the access and exposure the ADA allows people with disabilities to have in workplaces, schools and other settings that impact society, our contributions are seen more now than ever before. Daily life with our families is no exception. Most importantly, the ADA has helped parents with disabilities achieve the goal of just being parents. We can now experience the role of being a parent in different settings, and make the idea of being a parent who has a disability a little less uncommon than it may have been before.