Americans with Disabilities Act… The Right of Being Equal

  • August 06, 2020
  • |Yuly Osorio
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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law on July 26, 1990. President George H.W. Bush signed the civil rights law. It stops discrimination. It assures that people with mental and physical disabilities have the same rights as all people.

The ADA gives people with disabilities the chance to take part as an equal member of society. This includes equal rights in work, transportation, state and local government services, telecommunications, education, health, sports, social and public events, and others. The goal is to adapt the environment to people with disabilities. These changes include accessibility for wheelchair users, use of easy-to-read texts for people with intellectual disabilities, audio description of videos for people with visual disabilities, and so on.

In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). For people with disabilities, the ACA:

  • Gives more health care choices and better protection                                               
  • Provides new health care choices for long-term support and care                       
  • Improves the Medicaid home- and community-based services choice
  • Helps to reach high-quality and low-cost health care
  • Mandates the use of accessible preventive testing tools
  • Assigns disability status as a demographic type
  • Mandates data collection to assess health disparities

Practices and policies should be designed to include people with disabilities. They should involve finding and removing physical, communication, and behavioral barriers. The purpose should be fair treatment and non-discrimination. Design should be universal, with reasonable accommodations. It should also remove any stigma or stereotypes.

There are many types of disabilities. They include vision Impairment, hearing impairment, mental health conditions, intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, autism spectrum disorders, physical disabilities, and neurological disabilities, among others. The many types of disabilities are the reason why practices and policies need to be inclusive for all.

Inclusive Practices and Policies 

  • Universal Design is the process of designing buildings, products, and/or environments that are accessible to all people, no matter what age, disability, or other reason.
  • Accessibility is when the needs of people with disabilities are kept in mind. Products, services, and places are built or changed so that they can be used by people of all abilities.
  • Reasonable Accommodations are modifications to products, plans, or systems that let a person with a disability use them easily and comfortably.
  • Assistive Technology (ATs) are tools or equipment used to help a person with a disability live life to the fullest.
  • Independent Living is ideal for people who can live alone but enjoy having access to help when needed.
  • Assisted Living is for adults who need help with everyday tasks like dressing, bathing or using the restroom, but they don't need full-time care.

Inclusive Language 

A disability is defined as a physical, mental, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to join in certain tasks or actions. They prohibit a person’s ability to take part in normal daily activities and interactions. This means we need to talk with one another with respect. We need to use language that shows understanding and dignity for people with disabilities. Here is a list of inclusive terms to use when talking to or about people with disabilities:

Inclusive Language  Incorrect Expressions 
People with disabilities Handicapped or disabled people
Developmental or intellectual disability Mentally challenged 
Uses a wheelchair Wheelchair-bound
A person with a physical disability A cripple
A person of short stature Midget or dwarf 
A person with difficulty hearing 
Suffers from hearing loss 
A person without a disability A normal or healthy person
Accessible parking or bathroom Handicap parking or bathroom
A person who is successful and productive 

Has overcome their disability 

Characterized as inspiring 

Visually impaired  Suffers from vision loss 
Person with obesity  A fat, large person 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 


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