ADA Tenth Anniversary

Faces of the ADA

Sherry Johnson -- "As a parent, the biggest benefit I received
was in the day to day observation of his inclusion and
acceptance by other children."

For several months, nine year old Jeremy Orr had been attending an after school program at a KinderCare center in California, when suddenly his parents were told that, in 30 days, he would no longer be able to attend the program because his disabilities prevented him from participating in activities in the same manner as the other children in his program. Like any other kid, Jeremy enjoys his friends, computer games, Halloween costume parties, and field trips. Because he has multiple disabilities, including developmental disabilities, low vision, and a mild seizure disorder, he needs some extra help. When KinderCare refused to let Jeremy attend their program even with an aide paid for with State funds, Jeremy’s parents filed an ADA lawsuit. The Department of Justice filed an amicus brief supporting Jeremy.

The case was settled and KinderCare changed its policy. Jeremy remained in the after school program, with his aide, with the friends he had made. His mother, Sherry Johnson, summed it all up.

"The benefit Jeremy received at KinderCare was that he was treated like other children ... he was included in the holiday parties and field trips like the annual Halloween Costume party - he was a Power Ranger and Batman. Jeremy attended the field trips and participated in other childrens’ parties at the center, and even got invited to a few parties outside of the center.

"As a parent, the biggest benefit I received was in the day to day observation of his inclusion and acceptance by other children during the time he attended the center. Whether it was the time he came to the table to join some younger children in a coloring project and one girl remarked "Where is his walking chair?" or whether it was sitting behind the boys playing computer games and their suggestion that it was his turn to play. Jeremy was their friend and part of their day to day activities ...

"During Jeremy’s graduation from KinderCare, I proudly watched all the cool boys sit with Jeremy ... I know Jeremy has made an impact on the children in his community because when we go to the store or public events or when he is attending public school, some child will yell out "Hey Jeremy! How are you?". I usually don’t know or recognize the child, but it’s enough for me to know that they know Jeremy."

Other ADA Stories divider Special 10th Anniversary Report divider

July 18, 2000