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Americans With Disabilities Act Reaches 20th Anniversary
Date:7/24/2010

d that the ADA has had an impact. In the survey, 61 percent said the law has not made a difference in their lives. Another 23 percent said the ADA has made a positive impact, and 4 percent said it has made their lives worse.

"I do not think the ADA has helped all that much," said Michael Saggese, 32, an account executive at TecAccess, a Rockville, Va.-based information technology firm. Saggese has limited movement in his body and uses a wheelchair as the result of a traumatic brain injury he sustained in a car accident. He said he had difficulty finding a job after college, and landed his current role through a counselor at the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, who helped him network with TecAccess.

Though the survey included participants of all ages, the younger generation -- particularly those who grew up with the ADA -- is more likely to embrace it, says Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation, a nonprofit that funds rehabilitation research and employment programs. "Acceptance of people with disabilities is far greater today. Younger people have adapted to the social changes brought about by the ADA that an older generation has had difficulty with."

For Eric Wright, 25, the ADA has been a factor for almost his entire life. He was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get to his job at the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., where he helps the agency comply with federal requirements for making the agency's electronic and information technology accessible to the disabled.

Wright participated in individual education plans (IEPs) throughout grade school, and in college he used a note taker in classes and was given extra time on tests because it took him longer to type. "There was never a point in my life where, if you saw me outside my home, that you wouldn't know I had a disability," Wright said. "But, thanks to the ADA, the people around me -- including my family, teachers and employers -- k
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