The Americans with Disabilities Act: Still Making Its Mark 22 Years Later
By the Disability.gov Team
On July 26th, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will celebrate its 22nd anniversary, giving people all over the nation the opportunity to celebrate the protections this landmark legislation affords to more than 54 million people with disabilities in the United States. Along with the ADA, many other laws ensure equal protection for people with disabilities.
- The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – This law was the first piece of civil rights legislation to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in programs run by federal government agencies. Congress established that disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to live independently, make choices, pursue meaningful careers or contribute to society. One of the key purposes of this law is to ensure that the federal government plays a leadership role in the employment of people with disabilities.
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (1990) – This law established a federal program that authorizes aid for special education and related services for nearly seven million eligible infants, toddlers, children and young adults with disabilities. It ensures that students receive a “free and appropriate” public education, regardless of their disability and supports the development and use of proven educational models for people with disabilities.
- The Assistive Technology (AT) Act (2004) – This law distributes funding to state programs in order to provide assistive technology to people with disabilities of all ages, so that they can more fully participate in education, employment and daily activities in their communities.
For more information about these laws and other resources on disability rights, visit Disability.gov. This federal website offers comprehensive information on programs and services in communities nationwide. You can also find information on finding a job, getting health care, paying for housing, applying for benefits, and more.
Make sure you also visit the following sites for helpful information about the ADA and other laws:
- ADA.gov, managed by the Department of Justice, offers in-depth information about the ADA, rights of people with disabilities and what the federal government’s role is in enforcing the law. Contact the toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (1-800-514-0383, TTY).
- The National Disability Rights Network, a national nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP), is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services for people with disabilities in each state. Contact your state’s P&A agency if you feel you have been discriminated against in the areas of education, employment, healthcare or other services. CAP agencies give information and assistance to people seeking or receiving vocational rehabilitation (VR) services under the Rehabilitation Act.
- The ADA National Network includes 10 Regional ADA National Network Centers, which provide information, guidance and training to businesses, government agencies and individuals to help them follow and implement the ADA.
- The Job Accommodation Network is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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