ADA 30 It's Personal text with image of man

The ADA: In Your Words

The ADA In Your Words

"For me, the ADA has meant..."

We asked the people we support, their families and friends as well as our staff, our providers and others we work with to share with us what the Americans With Disabilities Act has meant to them.  Several people took the time to send along a few words. Some shared photos and others  recorded videos.  No matter what the format, all the comments reflect the far reaching impact this important civil rights law has had and continues to have on people with disabilities and the people who love them and work with them.  Read a few of these stories below and check back often as we will be adding more. Send your ADA story to [email protected] and you may see it featured here or on our Facebook page.


"The ADA gave me the freedom, the power, to do everything, especially to be more independent, to have a job, to do what I want to do."

Mary F.

Mary F.
“The ADA has helped me grow through learning how to cook for myself, how to do my own laundry, how to take public transportation by myself in New York City without getting scared, and has helped me feel confident even though I have a disability!”  Mary F., The Bronx

Assemblyman Tom Abinanti

Assemblyman Abinanti
"The ADA has helped my son Justin (who has a developmental disability) and many others by legally guaranteeing their right to an appropriate education and to the assistance they need to lead a productive life."
- Assemblyman Tom Abinanti
92nd A.D., Westchester

Gary Schaffer

Gary Schaffer
"The ADA has helped me by providing me accommodations and modifications to the work environment that have assisted me in both accessing and maintaining employment. As a school psychologist working for OPWDD and a person with ADHD and a learning disability, the supports provided by the ADA have been vital in providing understanding for my disabilities with wonderful and caring immediate supervisors. I do not think this purview of understanding would be possible in the workforce if it was not for the ADA."
- Gary Schaffer NYS OPWDD School Psychologist

Jessica C.

Jessica C
"My name is Jessica I was born with cerebral palsy that affects my lower extremities and I use a walker. The ADA has helped me do several things like live on my own with using Self Direction I have accessibility in my home So I can be independent. Also the ADA has help me fill my dream of meeting the New kids on the Block When I went on Carnival Cruise lines in 2016 They were able to put us in ADA priority seating and Donnie Wahlberg even got me into the his Private VIP night club which most people with disabilities will never get a chance to experience." Jessica C.

Jeannie Jo Balogh

The ADA has helped me to advocate not only for family members but also for the agency I work for to help make people as independent as possible without judgment. It has helped me advocate for my father in law who has developed disabilities over the past few years to get the right equipment for his needs along with his daughter (hearing impaired) and son (hydrocephalus). It has helped me at work recently in teaching staff how to successfully protect our residents during this pandemic and still make them as independent as possible.


Jeannie Jo Balogh

Senior Assistant Director of Clinical Services
The ARC Schoharie


Kate M.

Chris L.
"The ADA helped my son, Chris," who appears in this photo. "Chris is 32yrs old athletic, active and lives to play the guitar. Despite his autism he loves to be with his family. Thanks to OPWDD he lives in a great group home and enjoys his Day program. He also enjoys going to the beach."
Kate M.

Sharon Gordon

Realize that no matter your age or situation, be grateful. Be as kind as you can because one day you may need someone to speak up for you. 
- Sharon Gordon

Iris G.

Vladimir A.
En esto 30 años. Quiero agradecer a ADA, por todo el apoyo que le has brindado a mi hijo Vladimir, sin su apoyo, entrenamiento y preocupación no es posible continuar este camino, que representa retos, compromiso y mucho amor. Gracias, gracias por existir tan importante organización, que sin mirar las razas y color sigue dando una mano a todas aquellas personas que lo necesitan. Bendiciones. Iris G., madre de Vladimir A.

In these 30 years , I want to thank the ADA for all the support that they have given my son Vladimir  Without your support, training, and concern it would not be possible to continue on this path that represents challenges, commitment and much love. Thank you, thank you for having such an important organization exist, that keeps helping those in need, regardless of race or color.  Many blessings,
 Iris G., mother of Vladimir A.

Noel C.

Noel C.
“The ADA has helped me learn and grow. I learned how to be independent in urban gardening, now I know how to use a chain saw, put up a gardening bed, lay the seeds down and build a green house, grow herbs and vegetables.”
Noel C., Brooklyn