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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NPR Seeks Public Input on the ADA!

Tomorrow (Tuesday, December 4), National Public Radio’s (NPR) 1A radio show is doing a segment on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They are asking for input from the public – including information about what’s wrong with the law and what needs to be changed. We need to make sure they also hear from people with disabilities about the importance of the ADA and what’s right with the law! Share your stories about how the ADA has protected your rights or provided you greater access to your community. The law may not be perfect, but having seen repeated attempts in Congress to weaken the ADA, we need to keep fighting to protect it.

More information about the show, including times and information on how to tune in, can be found at Call in at: 855-236-1A1A (1212).



  1. Mikael Stansfield says

    Commercial buildings only have to meet ADA requirements if they are new construction or remodel. There should be a deadline that ALL COMMERCIAL buildings must comply by a certain date. Even if it was 15-20 years away…set a date.

    Airlines to not have to comply with ADA…they get to set their own rules made by the FAA. How ridiculous.

    ADA rules for parking spots need to be clarified. I have seen poles in the middle of the striped part (St. Marks Hospital in SLC Utah). All of the time there are handicap spots labeled as “Van Accessible”, but the striped part is on the LEFT side of the van. I do not know ANY vans that have a lift or ramp on the LEFT. In some locations handicap parking is truly insufficient…such as Walmart and hospitals…there are never any handicap spaces at either of these locations.

    If an outdoor recreation facility makes something accessible they need to agree to maintain it. Willard Bay (UT) has a cement Ramp going down to the water. But 3/4 of the length of it is covered up with a foot of sand. What a waste of taxpayers dollars.

    The UK has a movement called “Changing places”. They are petitioning to get adult sized changing areas into all public facilities. They have certain specifications that include a certain room size, an adult changing table, and a ceiling hoist (lift). This definitely needs to happen. It is attrocious that I have to change my 16 YO daughter on a disgusting restroom floor with no privacy (Bathroom stalls do not go all the way to the floor. She is getting too big for me to do this any longer, I am getting older and she is getting bigger. It is embarrassing and unhygienic for her.

  2. Carolyn Gammicchia says

    The ADA is an amazing piece of legislation. However when filing complaints they are often not investigated or those found in violation held accountable.

    There needs to better enforcement and penalties.

    Thank you!

  3. Roberta Jennings says

    The ADA is a landmark piece of legislation that has had a huge positive impact on countless lives, including my own. This legislation is for everyone, and the vast majority of Americans will need it’s protections at some point in their lives. The ADA’s impact cannot be understated, but it could be even greater. In order for our country to enjoy the full benefits of the ADA, we must begin to actually enforce all of it’s components. And we need Congress to designate some funding to be used for that enforcement, otherwise we will never see this legislation reach it’s full potential to better the lives of us all.

  4. I have a child who is disabled. I also happen to work in the field of architecture design. The ADA really is a bare minimum for what disabled people need in order to be able to participate fully in society. Parking, in many cases, is insufficient, and access to doors can be problematic. Even doors with push buttons to open them can be difficult to reach for some in wheelchairs. One cold winter day, my son’s school turned off the push button because the other kids kept opening the door and allowing a draft to come in. We need to continue to update technology to better serve all individuals.

    In my professional life, I am constantly seeing how architects and clients push the limits of the law as far as they can. While they meet the letter of the law, they fail to recognize that the laws are minimums that do not provide the kind of ease that able bodied people experience.

    The thing that I feel is most lacking concerning the ADA is empathy, understanding, and education. Even those who know my son don’t understand his needs. In architecture, I come across clients who feel that the ADA rules are unnecessary in their particular circumstances. We often forget that disabilities can happen at any point in life. If they have not impacted you yet, it is a near gaurentee that you or someone you love will be affected. When that happens, do you want your loved one (or yourself) to have access to churches, grocery stores, concert halls, movie theaters, sporting venues, and schools? Do you want them to be able to use public restrooms? Find parking at doctor’s appointments? Find accessible housing and hotel rooms? These are all things that are a daily struggle for disabled people, yet I still come across the attitude that the ADA is an unneccisary luxury. Changes to the laws can only go so far when individuals do not understand the challenges of the disabled community.

  5. Jen OConnor says

    The education system is completely wrong. Many states allow alternate standardized tests, & in many of those same states it alllows schools to put the cart before the horse, and not academically educate students. ADA says you can’t do this, but it happens all over the country, everyday. My child can learn, she wasn’t ever given a chance. Parents don’t know the laws, & don’t have time to figure it out.

  6. As a woman wheelchair user business owner I believe the Ada has been realized but there’s still many glitches. As a little wheelchair business owner I still have to call to confirm that networking meetings are wheelchair accessible we are seeing as an afterthought. Citizens with disabilities are not seen as businesspersons ore viable members of society. If we were denied access to networking events due to race or sexual orientation it would be unacceptable however because we are wheelchair users it’s overlooked and easily forgiven. For businesses to do reasonable accommodations it’s many times and inconvenience. Still going to a restaurant, an office building, even a political campaign headquarters can be a challenge. We are still seen as second-class Citizens. Let’s not even go into the parking.

  7. So many places – even businesses have not complied. Especially in rural areas, lack of enforcement and awareness. While I have since had to retire disabled, the act did enable me to feel protected at work during the last years (by employer / boss. Yet, I faced daily / weekly harassment from co-workers who felt that I received preferential treatment.

  8. In 1990 when the late President George H.W. Bush the ADA in to law, I thought great, this will level
    the playing field, my working career will take off and my social life will be normal.

    Over the years, the ADA Law has been abused by private citizens who wants a easy ride, and weakened by our city, state and federal officials who cherry picks what they want to obey and

    And now we have a “President” who has been sued for violating some ADA guidelines at a couple of his properties by the United States Government. And now, we are fighting to save our bill of independence because a Senator in Texas, Mr. Ted Poe (a lawyer by trade) is trying to gut the ADA Law. This weekend, I saw on his facebook page a picture of him and President Bush and how he thought a lot of him, you’d think he would STOP trying to rip OUR civil rights law apart, and do something to honor President Bush, like, strengthen the ADA Law, mandate states to obey it, and enforce it 100%, and make states trickle the enforcement to their cities. Not only will this cut down drive-by lawsuits something Sen. Poe is trying to do, but the wrong way, it would even count down actual complaints.

    Let’s talk about drive-by lawsuits, Sen. Poe can curb it by forcing the drive-byer’s to go through proper channels, like reporting it to a local disability based org. that works with and helps businesses and companies to get ADA compliant before any drastic measures are taken.

    It’s simple logic, the ADA DOES NOT have to be guted to stop drive-by lawsuits. The only thing it will do is hurt us, and ruin President Bush’s accomplishment to Americans with disabilities.

    Richard Anderson
    Chairman of Oklahoma ADAPT

  9. I am autistic, ADHD, dyslexic and dyscalulic.

    Only 16 percent of autistic adults are in any type of fulltime employment. When we are employed, we are usually paid on the low end of the payscale. Additionally, due to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, some of us are being paid subminimum wages.

    I’ve had my ADA rights violated on many occasions, but, as a low-wage earner, I have never had the means to defend my rights.

    Through a course of complete independent study (no university education) I’ve learned to write well enough to have my poetry published in magazines and journals from Oxford, Stanford, Yale, and other elite institutions, as well as popular publications like Poetry. Last year I also wrote and presented my first academic paper at the University of Pennsylvania.

    However, none of this translates into livable income, because being autistic means my communication and social interaction styles are different enough that I am perpetually outside of social circles. It’s frustrating to find myself so frequently under the heel of people who use things like making eye contact, making small talk and speaking fluently (instead if in a haunting, stuttering manner like I do) as markers for whether or not I deserve to be counted as a person.

    Recently my fortunes have taken a turn, as I am currently employed with The Precisionists, Inc., a company that helps autistics and other people with disabilites find dignified employment, while providing ongoing support. I was placed in an analyst job at a company of 200,00 plus, and contracted in as their first openly autistic employee on September 5th of this year, which was also my 46th birthday.

    For the first, I am experiencing what it is like to receive the occasional accommodation, like being allowed to wear a ballcap in the office because the bill cuts out most of the overhead glare from the florescent lighting. This is important because florescent lighting causes me massive amounts of sensory overload. In this new situation I am thriving. I’ve already earned a spot as a top performer in my department and am building a reputation for checking with other teams and helping out after completing my own work, as well as asking my manager for additional tasks. There is always something that needs to be done.

    Much of this is a direct result of the ADA. I shudder to think how much worse things would be for myself and other autistics if the ADA didn’t exist. As grateful as I am, I also known that society still has so much further to go when it comes to ensuring that people like me have our basic human rights is areas like education, work and employment, access to inclusive healthcare, dignity and protection from discrimination.

  10. I attend the ceremony of the signing of the ADA. This was the biggest piece of civil rights legislation ever. I thought at the time things will be a bit better for people with disabilities, but thats not the case.As with the five entitlements of the ADA we can see that’s there not always enforced in states. For example under the entitlement for transportation. As a wheelchair user my access to a regular fix route bus is impossible because there are on the sidewalks to go to a bus stop there are phone poles in the middle of the sidewalks impeding my access to transportation. and so I have to ride on Paratransit witch is door to door service and the cost is $4.00 – $6.00 to go to point A to point B. . I have filed a complaint with the Delaware Department of Justice It’s been three years now and nothing has been done. One more thing a back story to the sidewalk issue when they were putting in the brand new sidewalk DOT knew they were violating the ADA to ease of access and put in phone poles anyway . There was no oversight to the project. further this environmental barrier not only impeds my access but also impede access to a other persons who is using a baby stroller , or a person riding a bike. person who is using a walker or a cane is being denied there civil right to access to ride a fix route bus. in this case there needs to be universal access for all.

    Proud wheelchair user
    Kathleen McCool

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