July 26, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); a law that paved the way for equal rights and treatment for millions of Americans with disabilities.
It’s now 25 years later, and yes, a lot has improved; curbs have been reduced and ramps have been built. You’ll even find Braille on signage and wheelchair lifts on city buses among the thousands of other improvements that have taken place as a result of the ADA. However, as many of the 38 million Americans with a disability can tell you, there is still a long way to go. Not only among the governing bodies of the United States, but among the public and private sector.
Many of the complaints still coming in from disabled Americans continue to revolve around lack of amenities, or amenities that just don’t function. Take for example a hotel chain with accessible rooms. Many of these rooms have what they call a roll-in shower and if you are lucky bars next to the toilet, but what many are still lacking are beds that sit lower to the floor. It’s still to this day far to common to see a business try to be compliant, but fail to wholly deliver, and airlines are not any better.
Don’t even get me started on all the stories circulating around the Internet regarding the experiences disabled travelers have experienced; from blatant disregard of their well-being to downright humiliation. There are far too many…
As we look forward to celebrating this monumental occasion, we still have come a long way none-the-less. An American with a disability is far better-off today than prior to the ADA, and things are only to improve as more and more advocates get involved to bring to light the shortcomings of the public and private sector.
If you would like to learn more about the ADA, please visit: http://www.ada.gov/ada_25th_anniversary/