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Time for progress in abiding by the ADA
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Dear Editor:
Twenty years ago a bill was signed into law to help people with disabilities enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by making the United States accessible for all. However, people in positions to make that happen did not buy into that idea and 20 years later we are still asking, “When will people with disabilities be included into the mainstream of life?” I have not read that Effingham County nor Georgia was left out of the law.
As I work to make life better for people with disabilities in my job with LIFE., Inc. and my volunteer work with The Arc of Effingham, both non profit organizations, I find that people who can make a difference with accessibility are working on other projects and see the ADA regulations as a source of irritation and very often put these issues on the back burner, so to speak, and do not see it as a priority. People with disabilities are people first and want all the same things that TABS want. TABS stand for Temporarily Abled BodyS. The disability community is the one minority group we could join at any time… it does not discriminate. You never know when you may need the very access we fight for on a daily basis. Any one of us could be in a wheelchair tomorrow and need access. The ADA is not only the law but it is the right thing to do.
One of the things that bothers me the most is playgrounds and parks that are called accessible (for some) but are not wheelchair accessible for all.
Having pushed a wheelchair around for the last 20 years, I know first-hand how impossible it is to push a chair on surfaces that are not firm and stable. It is also difficult for those with walkers and canes or other mobility issues. As of this date I do not know of any playgrounds or parks in Effingham County that have surfaces that allow children in wheelchairs to fully participate in playground activities with their typical peers.
New products are available. Adapted equipment, trained professionals, and grants as well as SPLOST and ESPLOST monies are available. When something is made truly accessible it benefits all. Everyone knows how curb cuts are used by moms with baby strollers. Look what the ADA did for them.  Yet these moms are not asking for accessibility. Why, because it takes time and effort. People with disabilities have to spend a lot of energy simply trying to enforce the law passed to protect them. 
When everyone gets involved with looking out for their disabled neighbor and/or family member, barriers are broken down and access will happen in a timely manner. I would encourage you to talk with your local officials, school officials and legislators who control the money to put the needed funds in our community to serve all, including people in wheelchairs.
LIFE, Inc. has a mission to leveling the playing field for people with disabilities in order to create a world in which everyone can fully participate.
Nina Dasher 
Grandmother and advocate to Chelsea
L.I.F.E., Inc.
Independent Living Coordinator
 for Effingham and Bulloch counties
Arc of Effingham
President and Advocate