Sunday, July 26, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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.https://adata.org/learn-about-ada
Thirty Years Feels Like Yesterday
I’ve become intimately familiar with the ADA in the past three years. It actually took me quite a while to think of J as being “disabled” — I guess the first hint should have been the unsolicited acquisition of a handicapped parking placard. Now, having faced many of the challenges people with disabilities face on a daily basis, I’ve started to embrace her disabled status.
The Americans with Disabilities Act contains five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. Title I covers employment which was briefly relevant to J while she was employed. Title II covers state and local government which applies primarily when we deal with public transit systems. Title III is the big one for us and covers public accommodations. It’s easy for me to remember when there were no such things as ramps, accessible restrooms, or doorways wider than 28 inches. Title IV covers telecommunications and Title V covers miscellaneous provisions — these two titles are the least applicable for us.
There’s So Much More to Do
A lot was accomplished in 30 years but there is still so much more to do. Title III accommodation implementations vary greatly in usefulness, and accessible housing standards are sorely lacking. With that in mind, I’m going to start publishing a diary within this blog of my quest to find our next home, one with an accessible layout in an area with sufficient services for the disabled. I started by acquiring a copy of The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities by Deborah Pierce. I read a useful article written by her and I’m hoping her book will start me down the right path. And as a small indicator that I’m trying to be cognizant of accessibility issues, I’ve added the ability to listen to my blog posts directly (at the top) thanks to Amazon Polly.
A trove of information about the Americans with Disabilities Act and its anniversary for both individuals and businesses is available on adaanniversary.org.