For a long time, accessibility has been a big problem for people with disabilities. They have had very little say in where they can go and what they can do.
To this day, there are not many who are willing to speak up for the rights and equality of the part of the community that is differently abled.
With the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 having been in place for over two decades, it seems that people who are differently abled are still struggling to be treated fairly and equally in the United States. All they really want is to be given a chance to fit in and be accepted as a part of their society. It seems this holds true especially for people living with physical challenges more so than with any other disability.
For instance, individuals who are wheelchair bound potentially face a variety of difficulties just leaving their home. Some are unable to use public restrooms due to insufficient size, and some can’t enter a restaurant or shopping center because the aisles or doors aren’t big enough.
Getting to where you’re going is also an issue. Some people may not be able to afford public transportation; others may not have personal transportation. Then there are those who are able to push or walk with assistance to where they’re going; but there’s no safe way to get there, with nonexistent or inaccessible sidewalks.
The ADA has people who regulate inaccessibility and can allow federal funding or the lack of distributing funding to assist a city, school, business or park. The funding is to assist the publicly run establishments with fixing and maintaining accessibility. The funding also assists with accessibility to things such as: public restrooms, smoking areas and sidewalks.
Some people don’t like to cause problems or issues and think that if they end up going to the ADA organization. that is exactly what is going to happen. They may feel they will embarrass themselves or that they will be harassed for their involvement.
Public access areas are just that, for the whole public to access. Sidewalks, break/smoke areas, and bus stops in some areas have signs that are posted stating that no disabled people should be allowed use those certain facilities even though they are or should be clearly accessible.
Sometimes these issues do not get solved but that’s only if no one “rocks the boat” and creates awareness. The Americans with Disabilities Act is around to give a voice to those who feel they don’t have one.
If you happen to see an inaccessible building, pathway or structure, don’t be afraid to raise awareness. Whether you’re differently abled or not, if you see unfairness happening such as a sign not allowing the disabled the use of a structure, building or establishment, contact the person in charge. If after contacting them no progress is made, then you may want to take it a step further. Find out who the compliance person for the location in question is. Contact them and continue up the chain until real results are obtained.