Years ago, if you had cerebral palsy, mental retardation, mental illness, or another disability, your life would be much different than it is now. Chances are you would not be allowed to go to school. Few stores would have ramps. Playing sports or going to camp with your friends would be out of the questions. Hospitals didn't have TTYs. You might not hold a job, get married, or raise a family.
Today, life is different. After decades of fighting and protesting, people with disabilities have won the right to live in their communities alongside people without disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and other laws guarantee your right to be part of society. but the fight isn't over. People with disabilities must continue to fight -- to advocate -- to be sure those rights don't slip away.
For most of your life your parents or guardians have probably advocated for you. At some point, however, you must learn to advocate for yourself and then, perhaps, for others. In order to do this, you must know what your rights are; you must know something about the laws. This guide was created to give you the information you need to help protect your civil rights.
or one of the other resources listed at the end of this guide.