NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Dr. Alan Larson is promoting disability awareness at all levels. The SFA professor praises the historic federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act. With bi-partisan support ABLE does away with restrictive income levels in order to qualify for needed services and supports.
"It's always been you gotta be poor, you gotta stay poor and heaven forbid you have any money," Larson said.
Each state adopts the ABLE program. The Texas Senate passed last week a bill giving people diagnosed with disabilities before age 26 the ability to save up to $100,000 in a tax free savings account without losing services.
"And basically what the ABLE act does is simplifies all that so you can create your own savings account," Larson said.
At the city level the Mayor's Committee on People with Disabilities accessibility awards recognizes people wanting to serve the disabled. Morning Glory Yoga and Family Dollar set an example by constructing or renovating their business with accessibility in mind. Unfortunately, businesses continue to avoid the voluntary surveys conducted by university students for fear of what they'll find.
"We still would like for businesses to self nominate and that hasn't happened yet," Larson said.
Increased awareness is needed, so Larson promotes next month's Nacogdoches Disability Pride Parade. Over 200 are expected.
"The mission of the parade remains to celebrate disabilities as an aspect of diversity and to educate the community of the value and worth of people with disabilities," Larson said.
It's a mission that must continue at the federal, state and community level.
The Nacogdoches Disability Pride Parade, sponsored by The Mayor's Committee on People With Disabilities will be April 18th. Sign up information is on its website.