As an organization that works with children with a variety of disabilities, part of the W.A.G.S. 4 Kids mission is not only to change the lives of these children, but to be an advocate for our kids and spread the message of inclusion. While W.A.G.S. 4 Kids promotes “Inclusion Always, In All Ways” throughout the year, the month of July offers the opportunity to celebrate and to raise awareness near and far.
Disability Pride Month
July is Disability Pride Month and is celebrated across the country. The observance encourages celebrating disability culture and the unique experiences of individuals with disabilities while raising awareness, promoting visibility, and showing pride for the disability community.
In 1990, the first Disability Pride Day was held in Boston. In Chicago, the first U.S.-based Disability Pride Parade was held in 2004. New York then began recognizing Disability Pride Month and Disability Pride Day because of jazz pianist Mike LeDonne, whose daughter was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome and hydrocephalus. Raising a child with special needs, LeDonne became hyper-aware of stigmas and challenges individuals with disabilities face every day. LeDonne then began planning Disability Pride Day, with the first New York City Disability Pride Day Parade being held in June 2015. Now, multiple cities across the U.S. like Los Angeles and San Antonio, among others, host Disability Pride Parades.
Celebrations within Disability Pride Month are an effort to change the way people think about and define disabilities. It’s a mission through Disability Pride Month – and beyond – to recognize that disabilities are a part of human diversity, and that diversity should be celebrated proudly.
National Disability Independence Day
National Disability Independence Day is celebrated each year on July 26, and commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This year, 2020, marks the 30th anniversary of the ADA. The ADA was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush and has since given access to, prevented discrimination against, and promoted inclusion for individuals with disabilities when it comes to employment, schools, public accommodations, transportation, service animals, and more.
In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) into law, making changes to what was defined as a disability. The change meant broader coverage for individuals that would be protected under the ADA.
On September 15, 2010, The Department of Justice published revised final regulations for government and public accommodations titles of the ADA. Those revisions meant only dogs were recognized as service animals under those sections, and described a service dog as “a