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The 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

On July 26, 2020, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will celebrate its 30th anniversary. The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. This act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services.This is a time to celebrate this important civil rights law that works to ensure all people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

According to the U.S. Census in their report Facts and Figures, 12.6% of the population indicated that they had a disability in the United States in 2018. That equals 40.6 million people. However, 7.6 million citizens ages 18 to 64 were employed with a disability in 2018.

Through exploring characters in books and texts, students not only learn about various disabilities, but they find the similarities to themselves.

Books about teens who are living with disability highlight the courage and emotional strength that people with disabilities can summon. They also challenge us to reflect on how we treat disabled people in our own lives. Reading their stories will lead teens to new conversations, new sensitivity, and new awareness.

Questioning stereotypes about disability can jump-start high-level class discussions and pave the way to questioning harmful stereotypes about other marginalized groups. Reading novels that feature strong, fully developed, authentic characters with disabilities is a refreshing experience.

Reflecting on literature through the lens of disability studies led a teacher to reconsider the questions she asks students as they read.

What additional titles would you add?

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