July 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Wendy Strobel, director of the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center’s Northeast ADA Center at Cornell University, spoke to O&P Business News about the differences this milestone law has made to the O&P and disabled population.
“The Americans with Disabilities Act has greatly increased the accessibility of the community where we all live and work, allowing people who have mobility impairments or other disabilities resulting from losing a limb to interact in their community in ways that they never could before it existed,” Strobel said.
She cited improvements in buildings and other public areas that increase accessibility — like automatic door openers and curb cuts — as well as the employment provisions in Title I of the ADA, which requires equal opportunity employment for people with disabilities.
Many organizations are hosting a variety of events to commemorate the 20th anniversary. The Centers for Independent Living program will offer community-oriented activities throughout the country; the American Association of People With Disabilities is hosting a gala in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the anniversary; and a number of the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers, including Strobel’s office at Cornell, have set up ADA-themed activities.
“I think it’s a great way to celebrate [the law], because it makes a difference for people being able to be active in their community,” she told O&P Business News. “Even things like voting. Imagine that just because you can’t walk, you can’t vote either.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act has provided the opportunity for countless people to achieve full access to their communities, employers and other local activities.
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