Celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act on its 25th Anniversary!


On July 26, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will turn 25 years old. One of the most groundbreaking and influential pieces of legislation in the history of this country, the ADA has helped change the lives of Americans, young and old, across various races, people with disabilities and people without disabilities.

Virtually everyone working with people with disabilities in any field would agree that the ADA has been a success, just as they would probably agree that there is a long way to go before we can achieve true equality and accessibility in this country. But this significant anniversary is a good time to celebrate its passing in July of 1990.

The ADA National Network, an organization dedicated to providing “Information, Guidance and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act” has created a website specifically designed to raise awareness of the Act. The site, ADA Anniversary Tool Kit, serves as a way for anyone to access valuable information as well as suggestions for how to get the word out. Histories of the Act, statistics, press releases, online videos and many other resources are available to anyone.

To weave together the stories of people with disabilities, Alice Wong, MS, a Staff Research Associate at the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco founded the Disability Viability Project, which, as the site states, will be “Recording disability history, one story at a time.” Created in partnership with StoryCorps, the site is a great way to capture the varying experiences of people with disabilities, and how the ADA has touched them.

During this 25th Anniversary year, the Disability Viability Project is asking people to share their ADA stories, through a photo or message, and using Twitter or Facebook, as well, with the hashtags #OurADAStories  and #ADA25. As Wong herself has said, in an NBCNews.com article, “Disability history… isn’t told or brought to light by mainstream media or even in high school textbooks.”

The DirectCourse/College of Personal Assistance and Caregiving (CPAC) curriculum includes courses designed to train support professionals in the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Disability Rights and Independent Living” is a five-lesson course examining the history of the struggle to ensure rights for people with disabilities.  Understanding this landmark legislation and its impact is a great first step in making its overarching goals a reality.

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