By Ginny Bailes Fretwell
Uploaded: Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:52AM EST
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Greg Grogan of Anderson graduated from T.L. Hanna High School in 1974. Mr. Arnold Howell, American History teacher at Hanna, delivered Greg’s diploma to him at his home on Crayton Street. Greg was filled with excitement that day even though he wasn’t able to attend the commencement ceremony.
Mr. Howell became his teacher when Greg reached high school age. He came to the Grogan’s house twice a week for three years. In that time he taught him English, math, science, history and psychology.
Greg was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy around the age of 4. Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is a genetic disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. The abnormal genes lead to muscle deterioration. Most forms of this disease begin in childhood. There is no cure.
At this time, there wasn’t a doctor in Anderson equipped to treat MD, so Mr. and Mrs. Grogan found a clinic in Greenville. They took Greg to the doctor each month for check ups and treatment. By the time Greg was in the first grade, he was in leg braces. The Crayton Street neighborhood was zoned for North Fant Elementary School. Multiple sets of stairs at the school would have made it impossible for Greg to navigate through the campus, so they arranged for him to attend Concord Elementary. This layout was basically one level with curbing as the main challenge. Greg’s younger brother Brad attended North Fant while Greg attended Concord.
By the time Greg was in the third grade, his condition had progressed. On Christmas night, at age 9, he told his mother, “I just can’t walk anymore.”
He was soon confined to a wheelchair, where he spent the rest of his life. Greg never attended another day in a public school. He would from this point on receive his education at home.
Greg was assigned tutors who would teach him at home a few hours a week, make assignments and grade his work. However, Greg was mostly self-taught. With many interests, he found ways to learn. His parents ordered many books he wanted based on his interests and desire to learn. He would devour them as soon as they arrived. One of Greg’s hobbies was building model cars, airplanes and spaceships. His parents kept him supplied with model kits. This hobby was a challenge because of his weakened muscles, but he persevered, loving the process and admiring the finished products. He later began designing and assembling circuit boards. Whenever someone had car engine problems, Greg was usually able to evaluate and offer advice on repairs.
The modified Ford Van used for Greg's transportation.