It is time for a celebration! This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was created to bring about “equality of opportunity, full participation in society, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.” For too long people with disabilities have struggled with full inclusion into mainstream society and the ADA was passed to even the playing field and provide more opportunity and access.
The ADA concentrates its efforts in five major areas: employment, transportation, state and local government, public accommodations and telecommunications. So celebrate the 25th anniversary and your knowledge of the ADA by taking a little quiz. The ADA applies to different disabilities, but since we are dealing with vision impairment at CVI; we will focus on how the law applies to blindness only.
Question: If a blind person wants to vote in a governmental election; but does not receive assistance at the polling location, is that covered under the ADA?
Answer: Yes. State and local government’s must provide assistance to a blind person, whether it is to provide an absentee ballot, read voting information and/or provide an accessible voting machine.
Question: If a Blind person boards a public bus or train and the stops are not called out is that covered under the ADA?
Answer: Yes. All public transportation systems are required to call out major stops along the route for those that are blind and visually-impaired.
Question: If a visually-impaired person is working and the company upgrades their computer system but does not provide the accommodation for the visually-impaired person to use the new system is that covered under the ADA?
Answer: Yes. A company is required to provide an accommodation to their visually-impaired employees when a new system is installed. That could be additional training on the new system or upgrading their assistive technology to access that new system.
Question: If a person with a guide dog is being denied entry into restaurants, offices, hotels or other places of business because of their guide dog would that be covered under the ADA?
Answer: Yes. Public places are required to allow a guide dog or service animal to enter their establishment. They can’t ask for documentation or use allergies or fear of dogs as a rationalization for lack of access.
So, how did you do on this mini quiz? Did you get 100% or barely pass? Did you already know about the ADA or never heard of it? Whether you are an expert or a novice take some time during the 25th anniversary to educate, empower and enlighten yourself on this important and powerful piece of legislation. Here are some resources to help:
Southeast ADA Center
Office of Disability Employment Policy/US Department of Labor