What is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and who does it protect? The video attached above is a great tool for the general public to discover the answer to that question. President George H.W. Bush believed with this Act, “the shameful wall of exclusion would finally come tumbling down.” The ADA prohibits discrimination to people with disabilities in every arena, be it access to employment, education, or transportation. It requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, it gives basic civil rights to people with disabilities, and it grants independence through mobility and ease of access. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and IDEA detail the rights of the disabled as it pertains to education, and Title II extends these rights from the federal to the state and local level of employment, education, and transportation.
These measures protect a diverse collection of disabled individuals from those affected by visible disabilities like paralysis to invisible disabilities like autism. In the YouTube video, Congressman James Langevin suggests that this Act will be especially beneficial to wounded and disabled military veterans who will be entering the workforce upon returning from war. It also goes without saying that in education, established testing and procedural safeguards benefit disabled children who cannot advocate for themselves. ADA provides not only access to places because of remodeled buses or buildings, it also provides access to opportunities.
PBS has a great lesson plan for the classroom that one could use to teach students about accessibility. What follows is one of the included video clips.