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Discussion 7: People with Disabilities & the ADA

In your readings for this week we’re exploring key issues associated with disability and ableism.  In recent years, comprehensive approaches to addressing disability and the oppression of people with disabilities (i.e., ableism) have taken the form of legislation to eliminate both discrimination and other social barriers in our society. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) provides legal recognition of the civil rights of people with disabilities. Passage of this legislation was hailed as a significant step toward ending the long and unequal treatment of people with disabilities in the U.S. The Disability Rights Movement was instrumental in getting the ADA passed. The Disability Rights/Independent Living Movement promotes integration, equality, access and self-determination for people with disabilities.

For the purposes of this discussion please complete the following.

1. Take a look at the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Home Page  http://www.ada.gov/

2. Respond to the following questions:

  • According to the ADA, what is considered a disability?
  • What are your earliest memories of, or experiences with, people with disabilities? What forms of disability (physical, mental, emotional) were included in these early memories?
  • What messages did the people around you (i.e., parents, teachers, friends, etc.) pass on to you about people with disabilities?
  • Choose one area on the ADA website (such as service animals, accessible design, sign language interpreters, etc.) and give a brief overview of ADA recommendations in this area.
  • How have your perceptions/thoughts about ableism and persons with disabilities changed after reading this week’s readings and reviewing the ADA website?
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