By Heather Hall
Earlier this week, my classroom went on a field trip to see, of all things, a bus.
This was not any ordinary bus. It was the Freedom Bus, which is part of the Americans with Disabilities Act Legacy Tour. Led by photojournalist Tom Olin, a longtime historian of the disability rights movement, this bus tour will be rolling across the country to raise awareness and build excitement about ADA25 — the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Passed by Congress and signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush, the ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on disability. The Freedom Bus is wrapped in images of the disability rights struggle and the signing of the ADA, and at tour stops Olin talks about the events he photographed over the course of nearly 30 years that culminated in a greater understanding of the needs of those with disabilities and sweeping change to prohibit discrimination in employment, public services, accommodations and telecommunications.
Going to the Freedom Bus Tour was an amazing experience. It was great to hear about the history of the American Disability Rights movement. The students had a great time and were very interested in hearing Tom Olin talk. Everyone also seemed really excited to see the Freedom Bus and get their pictures taken. It was a great field trip with a lot of history and education.
Heather Hall received her master’s degree in special education at ASU. She is trained in the TEACCH Model and is working on becoming a certified trainer in both TEACCH and the PECS communication system.