• DCP Entertainment

How the ADA Changed Life for People with Disabilities


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Paralympian Lacey Henderson lost her leg above the knee to childhood cancer. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her athletic goals. In fact, it fueled her passion.


Henderson has never known a world without the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Yet this vital piece of legislation exists only because of tireless grassroots efforts by disabled people and their allies decades ago.


Be sure to check out Picked Last in Gym Class—Lacey’s spirited podcast about powering through life’s challenges—and keep reading to learn more about the ADA.


What Is the ADA?


Before the ADA was passed in 1990, people with disabilities were routinely relegated to institutions and kept from fully participating in society.


Grassroots advocates were determined to change this. Their first victory came in 1973 with the Rehabilitation Act, which barred recipients of federal funds from discriminating based on disability.


This laid the groundwork for what would become the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).