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“I’m 3’6”. Life at this altitude has given me a unique perspective on the built world and inspired me as both a designer and an advocate for disability rights. For those of us in the design world, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a familiar standard; the civil rights law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation and guarantees access to public and private places that are open to the general public. On July 26, 2022, the ADA celebrated its 32nd anniversary. This year, I turned 33. It’s humbling to know that I am the last generation born before this groundbreaking act was signed into law.
“I was born with a rare form of Dwarfism called Kniest Syndrome – a type of skeletal dysplasia that affects stature, joints, hearing and sight. In a single moment, my parent’s perspective on societal norms, healthcare and infrastructure shifted as they came to the stark realization that my life would undoubtedly contain physical barriers and discrimination. Fortunately for me, my family, and the 43 million Americans with disabilities at the time, the ADA was passed in the summer of 1990. With the stroke of a pen, my life and the built world around me began to change. For the first time ever, doors were figuratively and literally being opened for people with disabilities.”