Letters: Americans With Disabilities Act

Listeners respond to our coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Robert Siegel and Michele Norris read from listeners' e-mails.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Time now for your emails. We had a number of comments about our stories this week marking the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Bernie DeHott(ph) of Bergland, Michigan, wrote to say that he enjoyed my conversation with a professor of architecture about universal design, which takes into consideration a wide range of abilities and body types.

But, he writes: I wish you had pointed out the need for all of us to think more about this issue. He continues: If we did, maybe businesses in my Northern Michigan community wouldn't pile snow between their doors and the few handicapped parking spots, and shoppers wouldn't abandon those shopping carts in those parking spaces, blocking all access to those with needs that are different.

NORRIS: Marty Lam(ph) of Portland, Oregon, tells us she uses a motorized wheelchair, and she writes: I have noticed that many people, including those who are able-bodied, like accessible design. Frequently, when I go into a public restroom with several stalls, the only one occupied is the accessible stall.

She adds: While I understand that everyone likes the extra room, I wish able-bodied women exiting the accessible stall would quit scowling at me when they see me waiting. I just don't have any choice, though they do. Luckily, I enjoy an able attitude, which is as important as an able body.

SIEGEL: Finally, listener John Lappam(ph) of Sacramento wrote to make sure that we were correct in describing Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin as quadriplegic. Lappam asks: How does he raise the gavel? If he does it with his arm, then he's not quadriplegic but a paraplegic.

Well, our reporter Andrea Seabrook reports back that Langevin is indeed a quadriplegic. He has only limited use of his arms, and the House leadership designed a special gavel for him that hooks onto his hand so he can raise his arm and hit the gavel.

NORRIS: If you have a question about something else you've heard on our program, please go to npr.org, and click on contact us at the bottom of the page.

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