Self-Advocacy Pays Off For Teen And Others
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 6, 2006
CARSON CITY, NEVADA--Sixteen-year-old Jared Dempsey's acts of self-advocacy appear to be paying off.
Dempsey, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair, sent a complaint to the Carson City transportation department, saying that the bus stop nearest his home is not accessible to him.
He said that the sidewalk at the bus stop is only four feet wide, with a chain-link fence right next to it. This makes it difficult and dangerous for him to maneuver his chair onto the bus' wheelchair lift.
Last Friday, a day after a story about his plight was published in the Nevada Appeal, city program manager Patrick Pittenger announced that a new accessible bus stop would be built closer to Dempsey's home. Pittenger added that transit officials would begin evaluating wheelchair accessibility at all Carson City bust stops.
Five years ago, Jared wrote a letter to the state public works board -- and the governor -- asking for a crosswalk near his home. A short time later, he was driving his wheelchair across the street -- in the crosswalk.
"Disabled teen advocates for change" (Nevada Appeal)
"Jared will have a wheelchair-accessible bus stop" (Nevada Appeal)