In an effort to bring recognition to this life-changing law, National Disability Independence Day was added to the National Day calendar.
Signed on July 26th, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act seeks to take down the barriers that can make ordinary life difficult for people with a disability, by requiring public spaces to be accessible for the disabled, among other important rules.
While disabled people in America number in the millions, prior to the ADA, the able-bodied often failed to take notice and only designed public spaces, stores, homes, vehicles, and communications for the able-bodied. There were few accommodations for those who need wheelchair access, are vision impaired, or have many other debilitating issues.
This made basic independent living extremely difficult for disabled people around the country.
Sweeping In Scope - Millions Of Your Countrymen Are Affected By Both Disabilities And The ADA
To understand just how many Americans are affected by a disability, consider the following:
In the USA about 12 million people 40 years and over have some state of serious vision impairment. This includes over 1 million people who are blind, and 3 million who are still visually impaired even after corrective treatment or devices. CDC estimates 4.6% of American adults are vision impaired.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 13.7% of adults have significant mobility issues and great difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
5.9% of adult Americans are hearing impaired, with either serious difficulty hearing or deafness.
How Everyday Life Is Dangerous And Difficult For The Disabled
The reasons for disability are as varied as the people who have them, from military vets, to car accident victims, to people with medical conditions, to age-related. Disabled people are your neighbors, business owners, friends, and modern living can be more dangerous and challenging for them. Below are a few examples of things able-bodied take for granted that the disabled can struggle with.
Intersections are dangerous to the able-bodied, but for the vision, or hearing-impared they can be especially dangerous. Intersections are also dangerous for those with mobility issues, with trip-and-fall danger or simply crossing the street before a traffic light changes.
For those with mobility or vision impairment, stairs can be difficult to impossible.
Definitely not on most people’s list of dangerous places, bathrooms can be a real obstacle for the disabled whether it’s in a public space or even at home. Before the ADA, safety measures such as hand-holds were not required, and in the case of bathing this can lead to dangerous falls or even danger of drowning.
Beyond the dangers, many aspects of modern life that we take for granted can also be very difficult for the impared from using ATM’s to checking out at a grocery store. All of these factors reduce the independence and personal freedom for the disabled.
Restoring Independence To The Impaired
In America, we all have the fundamental right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and prior to the ADA, the barriers to living independently could be overwhelming for some.
National Disability Independence Day marks more than the signing of a law, the day when the rights of the disabled are recognized by the United States, and a turning point in the quality of life for the disabled.
Changes Brought On By The ADA
Due to the ADA, many intersections now have equipment installed to help vision-impaired people. Ramps are now installed to allow easy wheelchair access to the sidewalks, parking spaces are now reserved for the mobile-impaired.
Doorways are now wide enough to allow for wheelchair access, safety handrails and wheelchair-accessible stalls are installed in bathrooms.
Braille signs and writing are in public spaces, and on essential technologies such as Automatic Teller Machines.
The improvements do not stop with the physical world, as many digital technologies now facility or incorporate features to allow the vision impaired to take advantage of the internet.
Protecting The Freedom Of Disabled Americans
While some able-bodied business owners and taxpayers may complain about having to go to the expense and effort of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the fact remains nothing in America is more important than ensuring the freedom, independence and rights of our citizens.
By designing open access for the disabled in our businesses, homes, and neighborhoods, we are being true patriots, supporting the freedom and safety of our fellow Americans.
Defending The Rights Of The Disabled In Southwest Florida
If you or someone you know has been denied a disability benefits claim, or have been injured by a business that has not complied with ADA standards, contact Attorney Bryan Greenberg of All Injuries Law Firm today, for your free attorney consultation.