Hailed as the Bill of Rights for people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has fulfilled much of its promise since it was signed into law 25 years ago, according to a survey of disabilities leaders released July 23, 2015 in collaboration with the National Council on Disability. But the findings also uncover continuing and emerging challenges.
Lex Frieden, convener of the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities, and professor of Biomedical Informatics and of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHealth) at Houston, authored the non-scientific survey in conjunction with the ADA Participation Action Research Consortium to gauge the ADA’s impact on the disability community after 25 years. In follow up to a similar survey conducted in 2010, this year’s survey polled 725 participants, representing more than 600 communities across all 50 states and three of the five U.S. territories.
More than two-thirds of individuals with disabilities polled believe the ADA has been the most significant social, cultural or legislative influence on their lives in the past 25 years,” Frieden said. “But respondents also pointed out that there are opportunities yet to be realized and challenges to be overcome.”