On June 26, 1990, President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which affirms those rights for people with disabilities and significantly expanded their opportunities for independence.
One of our country’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation, the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and establishes that people with disabilities have the right to the same opportunities as people without disabilities. It ensures access to public spaces, transportation, employment, and countless other things that most of us take for granted. Its fundamental purpose is the integration of people with disabilities into the mainstream of American life.
We still have work to do, but the ADA, together with legislation like the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, has changed our world. Curb cuts are now so common that many younger people have no idea they originally were created to make sidewalks accessible for people with disabilities. Innovations and new developments in assistive technology have exponentially increased access to workplaces, entertainment, and self-sufficiency. Special education is now a service, not a place, and children are growing up with the realization that disability is a normal part of life.
Because of these advances, and many others like them, people with and without disabilities increasingly live, work and play side by side. A generation after the ADA, community living is the expectation for all people, regardless of age or disability.
That is not only good for people with disabilities. It is good for all of us. The strongest and most vibrant communities include people of all ages and abilities, each adding their voice, perspective and talents. We all benefit when everyone can contribute to their full abilities, work and grow the economy, and actively participate in community activities.
Source: Administration for Community Living