Last year, I attended a convention that forwent the ADA lines and instead made the lines wide enough for wheelchairs. The person who made this decision missed the point of the ADA lines to begin with.
ADA does not just cover wheelchair access but also any disability covered under the American’s with Disability Act. The ADA defines disability as:
A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.
This means widening the lanes was a great step for wheelchairs, but doing away with the lines put those with other disabilities at a disadvantage. Individuals on the spectrum for instance who have issues standing in long lines for an extended period of times. Individuals with anxiety like myself who have a hard time in crowds are also left out.
When I went for my ADA sticker for my badge at a local convention last year, I was actually questioned why I was there if I have problems with crowds. My response? “Because I choose not to let my disability keep me from living my life.”
Conventions are supposed to be a place for all fans, regardless of status in life, to have fun and get together to share their love of fandom. This means accommodating those who might have a hard time leaving the house as well as those who have no issues moving about.
This convention season I implore all those in charge of conventions to seriously consider the ramifications of doing away with ADA lines. Mothers of children with autism, and those suffering from anxiety and other mental illnesses will thank you for accommodating them so they can have a fun and safe convention experience.