The Americans with Disabilities Act celebrated its 22nd anniversary last week, on July 26.
The ADA, signed into law by President George Bush, was the world’s first comprehensive civil rights law for people with disabilities, banning discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation, public services, transportation and telecommunications.
Throughout history, people with disabilities have been ridiculed, ignored, abandoned, tortured, institutionalized, isolated, imprisoned, and even executed. They were viewed as defective. Incompetent. Stupid. Many people with disabilities never got the opportunity to live productive lives or contribute to society.
Shame on us all.
Fortunately, the winds of change have come along and moved us in a positive direction.
The ADA has sparked change not only in obvious areas such as requiring ramps and wider doorways for wheelchair accessibility, but in educating the public about disabilities that are not as obvious, such as HIV, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and mental illness.
For additional helpful information, log on to: www.AccessibilityOnline.org. AccessibilityOnline is a collaborative training program between the ADA National Network and the US Access Board, providing free webinars and audio conferences on different topics.
The ADA National Network: www.adata.org provides services for up-to-date information, consultation, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses, employers, service providers and individuals with disabilities.
We have all been touched in some way by the many faces of disability. It’s time to focus on what people with disabilities can do, not what they can’t.
Happy anniversary, ADA!
And thank you.
Contact managestaff with questions or concerns regarding ADA compliance in your workplace.
It’s what we do.