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#ADA30 Summit: Education and Skills for a Better Future

Key Players in the Creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act Discuss How it Happened and Where We Go From Here

Moderated by Amna Nawaz of PBS NewsHour, the dialogue about the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 engages four men who “were in the room where it happened:” The Honorable Steve Bartlett, who represented Texas in the U.S. Congress; the Honorable Tony Coelho, who represented California in the U.S. Congress; the Honorable Lex Frieden, who was instrumental in conceiving and drafting the ADA of 1990; and the Honorable Tom Harkin, who represented Iowa in the U.S. Congress. Rooted in the history of the passing of the ADA, Nawaz and her panelists bring the conversation into the ADA’s present state and envision the ADA’s future state. It is a powerful experience, learning from the ADA’s past, addressing the ADA’s present, and envisioning the potential for the ADA’s future.

Education and Skills for a Better Future

Currently in America, there are more than 7 million students with disabilities, the majority of whom are children of color. A combination of challenges has led to frustrating outcomes even pre-COVID-19. These challenges were further aggravated by the failure of virtual learning to meet the needs of students with disabilities nationwide. Still, due to underlying medical conditions, many students will need to continue distanced learning, while other students with disabilities will be returning to a “new normal” riddled with virus-related safety concerns in schools.

The session begins with an introductory message by Sophie Kim, a 14-year-old American television actress born with Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy. She is most well known for her series regular role as Amara in the Netflix original series The Healing Powers of Dude.

Moderated by Gerard Robinson of the Education at the Advanced Studies in Culture Foundation, the panel of experts includes: Ollie Cantos, Esq., blind parent of three blind triplets; Sneha Dave, the creator of the Health Advocacy Summit and its program of Crohn’s and Colitis Young Adults Network; Nicole Homerin, M.Ed., doctoral student in Special Education at California State University, LA; and Paul Luelmo, Ph.D., of San Diego State University’s Dept. of Special Education.

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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