Twenty-five years ago our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the signing into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA has done much to improve the quality of life for millions of people with disabilities by expanding participation in community life, improving infrastructure, and reducing communication barriers. The law’s protections have and will continue to shape and improve the lives of disabled Americans.
This celebratory time offers an opportunity to reflect on the ADA’s history and its future potential. The ADA changed the way society views people with disabilities. We think about how a person can be accepted and integrated into our community rather than ways to accentuate their differences.
The concept of home and community based living would not be making progress without the ADA. The Americans with Disability Act propelled the widespread availability of home and community-based services from a lofty goal, accessible only to those who could afford it, to an expectation. Most people strongly prefer to receive care and services in their homes and communities, as opposed to institutional settings. The ADA gives that preference the legal legs it needs to advance policy and become a reality.
- Written by Saul Bauer, Director of the Logan County Board of Developmental Disabilities