HOUSTON, July 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. During the last 25 years, the ADA has brought about historic change in the United States resulting in more accessibility and higher quality of life for millions of Americans with disabilities.
"For people with disabilities, it's our emancipation act," says Lex Frieden, a chief architect of the ADA and currently the director, Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program at TIRR Memorial Hermann and professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at UTHealth. "Before the ADA someone could look you in the eye and deny you a job or deny you entrance to college simply because you were in a wheelchair and it was perfectly legal to do so."
Frieden was a freshman in college in 1967 when his neck was broken during a car accident. Following rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Frieden tried to go back to college but was denied admission. He was told the school didn't accept students with disabilities. Frieden eventually completed his education at the University of Tulsa.
The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that assures equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.
TIRR Memorial Hermann has been providing rehabilitation services for individuals with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, amputation and neuromuscular disorders since 1959. Recently named the #2 rehabilitation hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report, TIRR Memorial Hermann works to inspire hope in people whose lives have been significantly altered by an illness or injury.
"At TIRR Memorial Hermann we see first-hand the challenges and struggles many of our patients and their families face as they try to learn to live with a disability," says Carl Josehart, Sr. Vice President and CEO, TIRR Memorial Hermann. "It's hard to imagine a time when a person couldn't go to a theater or a restaurant simply because they were in a wheelchair. But before the ADA, that was the reality."
At just 6-years-old, George Powers was struck by lightning and lost both of his arms. He's gone on to attend college and law school. Powers is part of the Southwest ADA Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann. The Southwest ADA Center is part of the ADA National Network to promote voluntary compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"When I applied to colleges and later law schools, I worried about my test scores and grades being good enough for admission," says Powers. "I never had to worry about my disability being a factor for admission thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act."
About TIRR Memorial Hermann
TIRR Memorial Hermann changes lives by improving outcomes, offering hope and maximizing independence for people affected by disabling injury or illness. Recognized among the leading rehabilitation hospitals in the country, TIRR Memorial Hermann serves as a model for interdisciplinary rehabilitation services, patient care, education and research. TIRR Memorial Hermann is a 134-bed nonprofit rehabilitation hospital located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Founded in 1959, TIRR Memorial Hermann has been named one of "America's Best Hospitals" by U.S. News and World Report for 25 consecutive years. TIRR Memorial Hermann provides rehabilitation services for individuals with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, amputations and neuromuscular disorders. TIRR Memorial Hermann's reputation is based on more than 50 years of experience in rehabilitation and research, the high caliber of its physician partners and clinical staff, and its comprehensive programs and services. TIRR Memorial Hermann is also recognized for a long-standing commitment to educating patients, families, healthcare professionals, caregivers and the general public about rehabilitation. Extending knowledge and resources into the community remains a top priority and part of TIRR Memorial Hermann's pledge to make a difference in the lives of those recovering from disabling injury and illness. For more information about TIRR Memorial Hermann visit tirr.memorialhermann.org or call 1-800-44REHAB(73422).
About Memorial Hermann
An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and more than 23,000 employees, serves to advance health in Southeast Texas and the Greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann's 13 hospitals include four hospitals in the Texas Medical Center: an acute care hospital which houses the Texas Trauma Institute and a Level I trauma center of which Life Flight® air ambulance is a part, a hospital for children, a rehabilitation hospital and an orthopedic and spine hospital; eight suburban hospitals; and a second rehabilitation hospital in Katy. The system also operates three Heart & Vascular Institutes, the Mischer Neuroscience Institute, three IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute locations, joint replacement centers, cancer centers, imaging and surgery centers, sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, outpatient laboratories, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. As an Accountable Care Organization, the system also offers employers health solutions and health benefit plans through its wholly owned Memorial Hermann Health Insurance Company.
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SOURCE TIRR Memorial Hermann