July 26th: National Disability Independence Day!
Thirty-two years ago, on July 26th of 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush, originating the celebration of National Disability Independence Day. This day is set to recognize the ground-breaking efforts made to protect individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination and provide better access to goods, services, and communications.
The law directly addresses a range of serious health and social issues in America. Launching the reconstruction of wheelchair accessible ramps, bathrooms and doorways, brail menus and crosswalks for the visually impaired. The act not only motivated improvements in mobility and safety, it also inspired enhancements in technology, with new assistive designs, limiting restrictions for those needing necessary information. With every advancement, designers are incorporating multifunctional capabilities to fit everyone’s needs.
The ADA has drastically influenced the nation to provide equal opportunities for all levels of physical and mental abilities. With 1 in 4 Americans having some form of disability, inclusion is a priority. Today, most businesses are ADA compliant, but with almost everything now being done online and/ or electronically, there is a call for websites to meet the needs to be more accessible as well. Although the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) has been in effect for years, the department found it important to make some revisions in 2016.
“This final rule clarifies Congress’s original mandate that eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities requires an expansive definition of what disability means and who the law covers,” – Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
If you are an employer or designer, take a moment to consider your interaction with people with disabilities. Are you able to offer a fair opportunity? Is your website easily accessible for those with loss of sight or hearing? If not, now is the time to make the pertinent updates for purposes of compliance and inclusion.
To learn more on how to become ADA compliant please visit ADA Technical Assistance