Anne K. DelBene, founder and principal
Welcome Change grew out of my desire for equal access. I have been in a wheelchair since 1989, before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required businesses and public places to follow a standard for accessibility. Frustrated that I was barred from entering restaurants, stores, friends’ homes, and other places, I began to speak up to managers and owners. People were eager to help but did not know what changes they should make. I didn’t either. A friend of mine had a draft copy of the ADA law and introduced me to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The passage of the ADA in 1990 provided concrete guidelines. As I learned the law I began to appreciate people’s confusion as to what they should actually do to become compliant. I realize this is one business where being an incomplete quadriplegic, having a hearing-impaired mother and having lived with my elderly grandmother is an asset. Now I help others make a welcome change in their establishments, not only for people in wheelchairs but also for senior citizens and people with visual, hearing and cognitive impairments.