Woman in wheelchair who fought for Disabilities Act can’t use tour bus

Woman in wheelchair who fought for Disabilities Act can’t use tour bus

Petula Dvorak

Even before she arrives in the nation’s capital this weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Dot Nary is already in what she calls fight mode.

Because when your legs are wheels, getting around is always a bumpy ride fraught with obstacles.

From the moment she gets to the airport, makes her way onto a plane, hails a taxi, rolls into a hotel or visits a restaurant, Nary, 59, is faced with the many ways the man-made U.S. landscape is still inhospitable to those with disabilities.

No, the squishy seat cushion she needs to prevent pressure ulcers is not a weapon to be stored away on takeoff.

No, the trend of super-high hotel beds does not work for getting in and out of a wheelchair.

And, no, you can’t advertise that all your tour buses welcome wheelchairs, then be magically booked for days on end to the one person in a wheelchair trying to make a reservation.

This is the state of America — a country where about 38 million people have a serious disability — a quarter-century after passage of a landmark civil rights law that was supposed to make their lives easier. But as Nary and others with disabilities can tell you, it hasn’t always worked out that way.

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