Navigation Links
Americans With Disabilities Act Reaches 20th Anniversary
Date:7/24/2010

By Suzanne Robitaille
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- As the nation prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Monday, a new survey finds that the law has not made meaningful progress in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Many social and economic gaps still exist between the 54 million Americans with disabilities and those without, according to a survey conducted by the Kessler Foundation/National Organization on Disability. The report found that the disabled still lag in key areas such as employment, access to health care and socializing.

The survey shows that more must be done to help people with disabilities get ahead, said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability. "While education has improved considerably, joblessness has not. We as a nation must figure this out," she said.

Some key findings from the survey:

  • 19 percent of people with disabilities said they did not get the medical care they needed in the past year, with lack of insurance coverage cited as the top reason.
  • 21 percent of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year, versus 59 percent for those without disabilities.
  • 17 percent of people with disabilities have not graduated from high school, compared to 22 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 1986 -- the first year the survey was taken.
  • 48 percent of people with disabilities eat out at a restaurant twice a month, compared to 75 percent of those without disabilities.
  • 34 percent of disabled people say inadequate transportation is a problem, compared to 16 percent of those without disabilities, a gap that has widened 5 percentage points since 1986.

Meanwhile, a different survey looking at the impact of the law on the disabled community came to a more positive conclusion. This online survey, released Friday and created by Lex Frieden, one of the crafters of the original law who is now a professor of biomedical informatics with the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, found that two-thirds of people with disabilities feel the law has been the most significant influence on their lives in the past two decades. The respondents added that the greatest improvements have come in areas that include access for the disabled to public places, transportation and public awareness.

Signed into law in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with physical or mental disabilities from discrimination. A disability is defined as any condition that impairs one or more major life activities, and the law was expanded in 2008 to include chronic health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and cancer.

Glazer said programs like Social Security, which pays cash and health benefits to people with disabilities who cannot work and earn less than $1,000 a month, discourages the disabled from re-entering the workforce. "We have to fix this system so people with disabilities can go back to work, whether it's temporary, part-time or full-time, without fear of immediately losing their safety net."

One bright spot in the survey is political participation, where the gap appeared to close completely in the 2008 Presidential election season. In the survey, 59 percent of both disabled and non-disabled people say they voted. In other election years, such as 1996 and 2000, the gap was higher.

President Obama included a disability platform in his campaign, which likely influenced voting rates, Glazer noted. Obama's initiatives include health reform, which will give the disabled better access to affordable health care, adding more workers with disabilities to the federal government workforce, and extending tax credits to businesses that do the same.

Even with this push from Washington, D.C., the majority of those in the disability community isn't convinced that the ADA has had an impact. In the survey, 61 percent said the law has not made a difference in their lives. Another 23 percent said the ADA has made a positive impact, and 4 percent said it has made their lives worse.

"I do not think the ADA has helped all that much," said Michael Saggese, 32, an account executive at TecAccess, a Rockville, Va.-based information technology firm. Saggese has limited movement in his body and uses a wheelchair as the result of a traumatic brain injury he sustained in a car accident. He said he had difficulty finding a job after college, and landed his current role through a counselor at the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, who helped him network with TecAccess.

Though the survey included participants of all ages, the younger generation -- particularly those who grew up with the ADA -- is more likely to embrace it, says Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation, a nonprofit that funds rehabilitation research and employment programs. "Acceptance of people with disabilities is far greater today. Younger people have adapted to the social changes brought about by the ADA that an older generation has had difficulty with."

For Eric Wright, 25, the ADA has been a factor for almost his entire life. He was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get to his job at the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., where he helps the agency comply with federal requirements for making the agency's electronic and information technology accessible to the disabled.

Wright participated in individual education plans (IEPs) throughout grade school, and in college he used a note taker in classes and was given extra time on tests because it took him longer to type. "There was never a point in my life where, if you saw me outside my home, that you wouldn't know I had a disability," Wright said. "But, thanks to the ADA, the people around me -- including my family, teachers and employers -- knew that I shouldn't be excluded from a normal life."

Disability activists are hoping to use the anniversary to encourage more collaboration between business, government and nonprofits, with a goal of bringing more education and job opportunities to the disability community. "As these two areas improve, other quality-of-life indicators are sure to follow," Glazer said.

More information

The U.S. Department of Justice has more on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

SOURCES: Carol Glazer, president, National Organization on Disability; Rodger DeRose, president and CEO, Kessler Foundation; Michael Saggese, account executive, TecAccess, Rockville, Va.; Eric Wright, Internal Revenue Service, Washington, D.C.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
2. Majority of Americans Approve of President Obamas Handling of Afghanistan and National Security But Disapprove of Handling of Economic Issues, Per Franklin & Marshall College Poll With Hearst Television
3. 57 Million Americans Sickened by H1N1 Flu: CDC
4. One in Ten Americans Visited a Health Insurance Site in Q4 2009
5. Most Americans Think Its Others Who Are Unhealthy
6. Americans Recognize Risk of Fire to Older Adults
7. County-By-County Report Sizes Up Americans Health
8. Americans Falling Short on Heart-Healthy Fruits and Vegetables
9. Rising Use of Medical Technologies Extending Americans Lives
10. “Hearts and Minds” Education Program Launched: On Average, People with Mental illness Live 25 Years Less than Other Americans
11. African-Americans attitudes about lung cancer may hinder prevention
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Americans With Disabilities Act Reaches 20th Anniversary
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... 2016 , ... FileHold's document management software has been implemented ... hosted environment for FileHold software that is pay per user subscription-based and also ... the FileHold web services API. DocuSyst also advises clients on fully functioning back ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded their highest five-star rating to ... are derived from a cluster of melanin when exposed to sunlight. Although most moles ... a lifetime of embarrassment. Historically, mole removal has involved a painful, often ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... (NADL), only four states in the U.S. require dental technicians to be certified ... in the dental industry, NADL created the “What’s In Your Mouth?” campaign to ...
(Date:2/7/2016)... ... February 07, 2016 , ... ... has added Kybella® to his medical and surgical expertise. Technically known as deoxycholic ... injectable medication used as a non-surgical alternative for reduction of fat below the ...
(Date:2/6/2016)... ... February 06, 2016 , ... Shark Finds and ... launch of a new DRTV campaign with Belly Bands. , Having a dog is ... sprays to puppy pads and find nothing works, get Belly Bands, the easiest ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016  As people age, ... The multitude of recommended screenings and tests that are ... a priority. However, for the majority of aging individuals, ... health planning. For the 37.5 million American adults who ... the present to make hearing health a 2016 healthy ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016  Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("Aralez") ... POZEN Inc. ("POZEN") and Tribute Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. ("Tribute") following ... shareholders of Tribute. The combined company will operate under ... with operations in Canada , ... States . Under the terms of the Agreement ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016 Aethlon Medical, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... Chairman and CEO, will be presenting at Source Capital Group,s ... York, NY at 2:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday, ... Immunotherapy Panel discussion taking place at 3:15 p.m. ET. ... approximately one hour after the conclusion of the live event. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: