The Americans with Disability Act provides the unique opportunity to enhance self-determination, choice, and greater freedom for all men, women, and children with disabilities in the United States. The most significant movement was the black civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's. After the civil rights movement, slowly African Americans were obtaining their rights by law, and slowly getting enforcements of these newly acquired civil rights. After this movement there were still a many people who were denied their basic civil rights, largely because they were denied their status as citizens. For all intents and purposes of this research, a large group of underrepresented people who were being denied their civil rights were the disabled; the mentally retarded, the people with varying degrees of developmental disabilities and physical handicaps that prevented them from being able to voice their opinions and allowed them to be continuously oppressed by the law.
Keywords: Civil Rights Act of 1964, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Handicapped Children Act of 1975
[...] Department of Labor, Office of Disability and Employment Policy, Disability Data Resources, last update November Accessed April http://webharvest.gov/peth04/20041108024820/www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/ek99/resou rces.htm ADA Document Portal, Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Dept of Education, http://www.disability-laws.org/General/ADA_Overview.html The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Titles I and last update January Accessed April http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/ada.html Interviews Massachusetts Department of Disability Ashburton Place, 13th Floor, Boston, MA, February Weham, xviii Presidents Committee on Mental Retardation, foreword [iii] Presidents Committee on [...]
[...] After all of the support in the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act there has been controversy over the interpretation of the act by the courts. One of the specific accusations related to the act is that the Act supplies a “lifelong buffet of perks, special breaks, and procedural protections for people with questionable disabilities[xxv].” The ADA was intended to be a broad piece of legislation that could ensure the rights to all people with disabilities. Many people argue that the ADA has not fulfilled its potential because of the judiciaries “disabling interpretations in adjucating ADA claims.” Because people with disabilities are now in a protected class, only people with disabilities may file suit against the Americans with Disabilities Act. [...]
[...] Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy called the Americans with Disabilities Act the “Emancipation Proclamation” for people with disabilities[xv]. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said that the Act was the “most sweeping piece of civil rights legislation possibly in the history of our country[xvi].” President Bush wanted this legislation to be a model for the rest of the world[xvii]. The ADA was different from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because of the strong support it received, “Unlike the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it faced neither serious opposition nor a threat of filibuster[xviii].” The Americans with Disabilities Act consists of five titles covering, employment, public services, public accommodations, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions. [...]
[...] “Required buildings and facilities that are designed, constructed, or altered with Federal funds, or leased by a Federal agency, comply with Federal standards for physical accessibility[viii].” The 1973 Rehabilitation Act prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities in programs receiving federal aid. In 1978 an amendment was added to this act that established the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. The 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act has since been renamed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The most important element of this Act was the establishment of IEP's, Individualized Education Programs, which were designed to, “meet the educational needs of all children with a disability, in the least restrictive environment[ix].” IEP's are still common in school systems today; they are put in place to maximize the learning of the child. [...]
[...] By giving access to public buildings and providing people with disabilities with telecommunications devices.[xxviii] I was speaking with a woman at the Massachusetts office on Disability in February of 2007, the woman told me that she had asked a 15 year old handicapped boy if he felt the Americans with Disability Act had affected his life in any way. After a short look of confusion he responded with, I don't think the act has impacted my life at all.” The woman went on to point out that this boy, thinking he has never been discriminated against is the perfect indicator of why the act is so effective, he has no idea what his life would have been like without the act, and he feels as if he is a normally functioning member of society. [...]
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