“Disability is not destiny for either individuals or the communities in which they live. Rather, disability is shaped by personal and collective choices.” NCBI
NCBI’s article The Future Of Disability In America talks about how the future of disability in America can be significantly altered by the choices America makes and the actions we take to improve disabling conditions. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was put in place to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. The act has also helped provide access to places, equipment, and tools that were once inaccessible. The Americans with Disabilities Act has made sure that Americans with disabilities can live as every other American does. Here are 9 of the most beneficial advancements in disability inclusion so far today.
- Ramps, Railings, And Elevators – The installment of ramps, railings, and elevators in public places has made access to businesses, restaurants, and places of entertainment much more accessible to people using wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and walkers. People who were once unable to easily visit a restaurant or enjoy a movie at a theater can now do so with ease.
- Public Transportation – Public transportation has been a major advancement for society in general. Many people with disabilities who are unable to drive due to physical and mental impairments can more easily get to job interviews, go grocery shopping, and to doctor appointments.
- Parking Spaces – Thanks to advancements in public accommodations for disabled people, people who struggle with mobility are provided easier access to public buildings. Handicap parking is an ADA requirement that provides space for wheelchair loading and parking.
- Braille – Braille is an exciting advancement for our society. Blindness takes away the inability to read important information that society is given every day. The blind and low vision community can expect to be offered Braille so that they have access to many different types of medical and legal documents. It is also provided as access to education. Braille is not the only type of visual aid advancement who struggle with vision. There are also audio aids in telecommunications that allow people to hear what is shown on screens.
- Audio Aids – Audio aids serve people who cannot hear or have low-functioning hearing. Audio aids can include hearing aids and closed-captioning on television and computer screens.
- Building Accommodations – The structure of buildings has been altered to help ease the access to public facilities. Bathroom stalls and other doorways have been made larger to allow wheelchair access. Public buildings also install automated doors that open on their own, or with a push of a button.
- Vehicle Lifts – Public buses, school buses, and other types of public transportation vehicles have lifts installed for wheelchairs to load and unload.
- Service Animals – Service animals have deeply impacted the lives of disabled people in a great way. Service animals are often used by the blind and low-vision communities to help them get around. Service animals are the only type of animals allowed in many public buildings and on public transportation vehicles.
- All Abilities Parks – All abilities parks are a newer accommodation that is growing around the nation. All abilities parks are designed for children with all types of abilities to play and have fun with other children. Many offer sensory toys/objects, water spaces, trains, and much more.
There has been a lot of advancement in public accommodations for disabled individuals. Many of the advancements listed above would not have become a reality without the positive, forward-thinking people who recognized that “able” can happen with the right type of accommodations. In 1990, the ADA was a new source of hope for many people – and continues to be a source of hope for many individuals.