It may be hard to believe now but not all that long ago, businesses without ramps and housing without lifts were the norm in America. Many people with disabilities had to go about their days without any assurances of where they could go or what they could do. People living in America were missing out on life because of disabilities they didn’t ask for and obstacles in their everyday lives were being ignored. Inaccessibility reigned supreme. But then, a giant leap forward.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990, people with disabilities were guaranteed certain rights and increased independence, and we officially entered the era of accessible design. That momentous date is celebrated each year on National Disability Independence Day.
So just how important is this anniversary to people with disabilities? The Americans with Disabilities Act and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 provide protection from employment discrimination, civil rights protections, and equal opportunity to access businesses, employment, and transportation. Additionally, accessible design features such as curb cuts, ramped access to buildings, automatic opening doors and accessible public transportation broke down physical barriers for those with disabilities. None of this was ever guaranteed before that day not long ago in 1990.
The ADA set forth four goals: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities. Having access to accessible housing solutions, such as those offered by Scioto Properties, is crucial in accomplishing those final two goals. As the leader in disability housing in the U.S., Scioto has experience in accessibility design and construction of a variety of different housing options—each modified to fit specific needs—for people with disabilities.
When he signed the ADA, President George Bush famously said, “Three weeks ago we celebrated our nation’s Independence Day. Today we’re here to rejoice in and celebrate another ‘Independence Day,’ one that is long overdue. With today’s signing of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence and freedom.”
One in five American children and adults will experience a disability in their lifetime. Thanks to the ADA, people with disabilities have been empowered to dream bigger and pursue their own visions of the American dream. And that’s something worth celebrating.