Anthem is pleased to have Courtney Felle join us as the 2020 Lex Frieden intern. We are so incredibly fortunate to have Courtney join our Disability Policy Engagement team in Federal Affairs, which includes supporting the work of the NAB. In addition to her work with us, Courtney is a member of the 2020 Disability Advocacy Certificate Program organized by the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD). She wrote this blog post in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the ADA, and it can also be found on AAPD’s social media channels.
“Happy 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act! As a college student with a chronic illness, I’m pretty thankful for the protections of the ADA.
The accommodations I need don’t always match the assumptions many people have about “accessibility.” It’s often difficult for me to carry things, even things that an able-bodied person wouldn’t consider heavy. If I can store belongings in a class building or workspace, that’s an accommodation. If I can use a laptop in class to access eBooks and type notes, instead of having to carry extra books and notebooks, that’s an accommodation.
At some universities, it’s a fight to even get basic accommodations under the ADA. Thankfully, I’ve been lucky at my college: though the disability services office isn’t perfect, administrators do take me seriously and try to help as much as they can. Having this basic safety allowed me to dream bigger. What would it mean to not only have accommodations, but to have my ideal accommodations?
As we reflect on the ADA’s history and its future, I find myself wanting two main things:
- Strengthening the ADA and holding colleges and businesses accountable to ADA standards
- Normalizing accommodations beyond the scope of the ADA and pushing for even fuller inclusion of people with disabilities in all spheres of life
We need to ensure that the world is accessible and welcoming to people of all ability levels. So, please, let’s make it happen!”