Celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Everyday

piece of paper on desk with title Americans with Disabilities Act

Although we officially celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act this week, we have reason to celebrate it every day as it has dramatically impacted the lives of people with disabilities and their family members in innumerable ways.

To set the stage, in 2013, former AFB staffer Judy Scott wrote an account of being at the White House for the signing of the Act.

She said:
“I found myself standing next to Elizabeth Dole, who was in awe of this moment as well. Also, surrounding me were hundreds of other disability advocates and policy-makers who had a personal interest in this legislation and its signing into law. It was quite emotional for all of us to know that we could not be discriminated against because of a disability and that a law was being enacted to help enable us to live full, productive lives. We all were experiencing history in the making.”

Peer advisor Elizabeth Sammons takes us back even further in her article, The ADA in Context.

Elizabeth says,
“Many Americans today consider July 26, 1990, to be the birth date of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a landmark date, this holds true, but many events occurred far before the ADA, winds of change which swept the way for 1990.”

She details both the before and after of the ADA stating,
“No legislation is perfect, even as no society is perfect, and challenges will continue as regards to the ADA. But thanks to the ADA, America now has a strong backdrop against which to make solid decisions on these and any other issues that may not even yet exist.”

In this way, the ADA is like the Constitution for people with disabilities, a document with strong bones and a framework that gives room for growth as our society changes and matures.

Read on and find out about some of the ways in which the ADA has "grown" and impacted other legislation.

Caregiver Rights Under the ADA

In her post, Caregiver Rights to Receive Accessible Information Under the ADA, Audrey Demmitt cites Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act stating, “public accommodations must provide a way for an individual with vision loss to receive and give information in his/her preferred format which could be audio, large print, braille, or electronic via the computer. This rule applies not only to the patient who is disabled, but to any family member, companion, or caregiver who is disabled representing the patient.”

Steven Wilson kneeling next to his daughter Daevi who is in a light blue dress after a school play

And what about the rights of disabled parents of non-disabled children?

Steven Wilson, a peer advisor who is hearing and visually impaired, discusses his battle with the school system and how advocacy helped. He says, “Here I am, the lowly parent, as I was made to feel, now facing the mighty educational institution, trying to educate the staff and administration about my rights and that the ADA isn’t in place just for ramps and doors but, more importantly to me, for communication needs.” He goes on to say, “My main take away from this experience is, not only do we find some institutions unfamiliar with all that the ADA provides, but we do have allies out there to assist those of us in need. My advice to those struggling with agencies or institutions who feel they are getting the run around is to seek out advocacy and disability law centers in your state and local community.”

Steven, who is enrolled in disability studies at his college, has taken the lead on starting a new disability series on VisionAware where you can find additional posts on this subject.

ADA and Audio Description

As a part of our ADA initiative, Empish Thomas has written a post on ADA and audio-described movies and TV. She covers the latest rules and regulations and includes the latest audio description updates on Netflix and Amazon.

ADA-Related Posts from AFB

questions about Americans with Disabilities Act network postcard with picture of US and telephone number for help

VisionAware Blog Highlights Key Policy Concerns

Continuing with our theme of access, the VisionAware Blog has highlighted some key policy issues that affect older persons with vision loss.

Be sure to check out peer advisor Max Ivey’s post on Amtrak and its critical importance to public transportation.

Ann Pilewskie, M.A., who interned in AFB’s public policy office wrote a thought provoking post on re-imagining health care.

Maureen Duffy brings to light another key concern related to vision as we continue to have advances in eye care treatment, particularly with all the research on gene therapy.

Other Posts of Interest

services icon Looking for Help?

featured icon Featured Items

Join Our Mission

Help us expand our resources for people with vision loss.