July Has National Disability Independence Day
National Disability Independence Day on July 26th commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26th, 1990.
The ADA provides protection from employment discrimination as well as better access to goods, services, and communications for people with disabilities.
The day not only celebrates the anniversary of the ADA but it also serves several other purposes. First, the law first broke down barriers individuals with disabilities faced every day. It also marked a timeline of change that soon developed. Over time, common barriers such as narrow doors and small bathroom stalls became accessible to wheelchairs. Other examples include braille signs and crosswalks for the vision impaired. The changes improved mobility and safety. But much more needs to be done and may require more legislation – and even litigation.
Beyond structural changes, the act motivated many designers to enhance technology. Often, physical limitations restrict a person’s ability to access legal or health information. New assistive technologies make it possible to obtain the necessary information.
As accessibility improves, the world continues to change in other ways. For example, many of today’s brick and mortar businesses are ADA compliant. However, more and more businesses switch to online versions. Those websites need to meet the needs to be accessible, too.
With each advancement in technology, designers need to incorporate multifunctional approaches to fit every ability. Celebrate the freedom the ADA inspires with forward-thinking design and technology. Business owners and places of public accommodation should use the occasion to commit themselves to taking actual steps to improve ease and accessibility.
That means considering exactly how accessible your business is to people with disabilities. The ADA empowers people with disabilities to stand up for their rights, too. Give shout outs on social media to accessible businesses and organizations.