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Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services

IPAS > Special Education > Overview > Anthony - Accessibility: Independence through IPAS Anthony - Accessibility: Independence through IPAS


AnthonyTwo years ago, 13-year-old Anthony was looking forward to his family's trip to the Indiana State Fair. Much like any other child, he was excited to sample the sinful fair food, to play games on the midway, and most importantly, to see his cousin's blue ribbon winning entries displayed in the 4-H building.

Unfortunately, Anthony's much anticipated trip to the fair would end in tears. Anthony has cerebral palsy, and his family quickly discovered that the State Fairgrounds was barely accessible to him and his power wheelchair.

"The handicapped parking was a mess," shared his mother, Karen. "There were no handicapped accessible bathrooms in the 4-H building, and his cousin's projects were displayed on the third floor, where Anthony couldn't go. We had to leave him behind, and he was devastated. He never got to see the display."

Karen had sought help from IPAS once before to help reinstate Anthony's Medicaid after a move. Now, she turned to the organization again to lend advocacy services in the family's fight against the State Fair.

"It's not fair when you go out as a family to enjoy yourself, and there is a barrier," Karen said. "Everyone has a right to leisure and recreation, and we all have a right to the community. Even with passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, there are still architectural barriers -- like the ones we discovered in the 4-H building -- that keep people from living a full life. Anthony shouldn't have to deal with that."

IPAS agreed. The organization began to help Anthony and his family with their case, and was successful in mandating changes to the state landmark. Today, the Indiana State Fairgrounds 4-H building has been redone and moved, and now is accessible to all Hoosiers. Other areas of the fairgrounds, including parking, have been improved, too.

Karen is pleased that her family's fight was able to help others, too. "People that have family members with disabilities are jumping over barriers all the time," she shared. "This is one place that we won't have to do that anymore."

Although Anthony hasn't had a chance to go back to the fair, he is extremely active. He plays power soccer in his wheelchair on an Indy Parks team, loves video games and enjoys bowling and swimming.

Next year, he will begin his sophomore year with 51 percent of his time spent in regular classrooms.

And through the help of IPAS, the number of places he has access to is growing every day.