Americans with Disabilities Act Celebrated Around the Nation

The 24th Anniversary of the ADA is July 26

We celebrate the progress made through implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Good progress has been made since its enactment in 1990, and yet some challenges remain.

The 24 years that have passed since the enactment of the ADA have brought us closer to the day when no Ohioan will be deprived of the basic opportunity to be part of his or her community. During this time, the number of individuals served at state-operated developmental centers has been reduced by 63 percent, census reduction at large (16-bed or greater) ICF-IID facilities has continued to decline, and the momentum behind community employment continues to grow. While all of this is encouraging, much work remains. Too many individuals who may prefer to live and work in the community are not yet doing so.

The ADA is an equal opportunity law for people with disabilities which prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in community life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. This principle goes to the heart of the Department’s core values.

In the broadest sense, the ADA requires that public space be accessible to people with disabilities.

However, accessibility is not just physical access, such as ensuring ramps and curb cuts. As defined by the ADA, accessibility also includes looking at how programs, services, and activities are delivered, including whether there are policies or procedures that prevent someone with a disability from participating.

Non-physical barriers include things like rules that state, “No animals allowed,” which exclude people who use assistance dogs. Accessibility barriers also include eligibility requirements that tend to screen out people with disabilities, such as requiring people to show or obtain a driver’s license to get a job when driving is not required for the job.

The ADA was built upon Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and covers all state and local governments, including those that receive no federal financial assistance. The ADA also applies to private businesses that meet the definition of ‘public accommodation’ such as restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, doctors’ offices, providers of Home and Community Based Services, and commercial facilities such as office buildings, factories, and many private employers. 

Richard Devylder

Richard Devylder, Senior Advisor for Accessible Transportation for the U.S. Department of Transportation, visited Ohio in 2012 and spoke to attendees at the People First of Ohio conference. His powerful presentation included a short video about his life.

Accessible and reliable transportation is a civil right. That is what my job is about.”

More Resources

Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act at the ADA Anniversary website, and take a look at the online ADA Toolkit. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice provides free ADA materials. Printed materials may be ordered by calling the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (Voice), or 800-514-0383 (TDD). The publications are available in standard print, as well as large print, audiotape, Braille, and computer disk.

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