KKTV reports that Vincent and Heidi Giesegh of Fountain, Colo., say their neighbors are threatening legal action if they don't remove a ramp installed for their 16-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy, which affects an estimated one in 303 children in the U.S.
"It's kind of irritating," Vincent told KKTV. "I mean we're trying to do our best to assist our daughter with her daily needs to get in and out of the house."
According to the couple, the neighbors believe the handicap ramp may hurt the value of their own home.
The Giesegh's home is part of a community that is still in development; as such, the neighborhood lacks a homeowner association, which might normally require permits and an approval process before building a ramp. The family stated that the City of Fountain, though, granted them permission to install the ramp and to widen their driveway for a handicap van as well. The builder also claims to have received complaints from the neighbors.
So far, the unnamed neighbors have declined to comment.
The Giesegh family has contacted the Rocky Mountain ADA Center for help.
The Rocky Mountain ADA Center is a member of the national network of ADA centers, which are funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The center states that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended, prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability and protects three categories of individuals:
1. Individuals who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity
2. Individuals who have a record of such an impairment
3. Individuals who are regarded as having an impairment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 37 to 56 million Americans live with a disability. In particular, cerebral palsy affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.
As a person ages, the chance of gaining a disability rises. Among people 15 years of age or younger, 10 percent are disabled; at ages 80 and older, almost 75 percent of people live with a disability.