The 25th Anniversary of the ADA – Accessible Living
By: Zachary Trautenberg
On July 26th the Americans with Disabilities Act will be turning 25 years old. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law designed to make the United States accessible for persons with disabilities. Originally enacted in 1990 it has been updated over the 25 year period.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a great tool that has literally and figuratively opened many doors for persons with disabilities, but it is not perfect by any means. The biggest challenge for persons with disabilities is the fact that our abilities and inabilities are extremely unique. Each and every persons has certain strengths and weaknesses. The best accommodation for one person may not be the best accommodation for another. For example, I have recently been looking at refrigerators and many are rated accessible by the standards set in the Americans with Disabilities Act, but these refrigerators are still not accessible for me.
My advice is always follow the regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act if for no other reason than for not getting sued. Just be there to assist a client, friend, and or family member that has a disability. Do your best to assist them even if that means going above and beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, if the door to your store is legally considered accessible by the Americans with Disabilities Act, but you see someone in a wheelchair struggling offer to hold it for them.
I see the Americans with Disabilities Act as a set of legal guidelines for us to follow. I also do not believe that it should mean we ignore what is right in front of us. We have a moral duty to try and provide the best services for everyone regardless of our abilities or inabilities.
I believe that the Americans with Disabilities Act has done some amazing things for persons with disabilities, but I believe that it should be a living document ever evolving and expanding. I feel that the United States and the Americans with Disabilities Act is amazing, but we can continue to learn and make things better.
If you like this article and want to read more by Zachary Trautenberg, check out his blog Independent and Accessible Living at http://www.independentaccessibleliving.com.