The ADA’s influence on the field of telecommunications

April 23, 2015 by Sue Reeves

By Anna Tuckett, UATP social media intern

disability rightsOne of the things the Americans with Disabilities Act has done, is to allow for improvements to technologies that better the lives of people with hearing and
other communication disabilities by making them more accessible.

Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, it has brought to the surface the changes necessary to make technology more accessible to people who have impaired speech or hearing.

Mitch Moyers, Outreach Specialist for the Utah Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, has years of experience helping people with hearing disabilities find resources.

“The ADA has helped people receive support when they otherwise wouldn’t,” Moyers said. “It has also brought the needs of people with impaired hearing to the public eye more and more.”

To further promote the recognition of people with hearing loss, the Utah Sanderson Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing helps people with impaired hearing to receive the assistive technology they need. From apps to hearing aids, they provide the resources necessary to give people opportunities for better technology.

“We are an open resource.” Moyers said. “We provide lists of agencies to help people find what they need, as well as training on how to use their assistive technology properly.”

Recently, technology has improved in many ways that have benefited people with disabilities, especially with smartphones, internet, etc.

“In the last 10-15 years, smartphones have made information much more accessible for people with hearing loss.” Moyer said. “With this has come even more of an incentive to help improve current software and technology.”

There are many hearing applications and technologies that have come from the expanding field of assistive technology development. The Americans with Disabilities Act has influenced the expansion of accommodations for people with communication disabilities by bringing recognition to the necessary improvements needed to make technology more accessible.

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How well do you know the ADA?

July 26, 2012 by cpehrson

July 26th  is the Anniversary of the ADA,  often viewed as the Civil Rights Act for people with disabilities. This Act has changed and improved the lives of millions of people with disabilities and their families through the years.  It is a day worth celebrating!

How much do you really know about the ADA?  Here’s a chance to test your knowledge.  See if you can answer these questions:

1.  What do the letters ADA stand for?

2.  What year was the ADA first enacted?  What president signed the ADA into law?

3.  Can you name three areas that the ADA addresses to improve the lives of people with disabilities?

4.  What do you think is a barrier for people with disabilities that the ADA still needs to address?

5.   Does the ADA just apply to the states, or does it also apply to the territories (Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)?

6.  Can you name one way that the ADA has improved the work environment for people with disabilities?

7.  What do you think is the most important issue addressed by the ADA?

Thanks for taking this little quiz!  How did you do?  You can listen to the CPD’s Gordon Richins interview on Utah Public Radio to mark the anniversary and learn how the ADA has helped him.

If you would like to learn more about the ADA , there are some great web sites you can visit:

  • For more information about the ADA, go to the government’s ADA website.
  • For answers to some interesting questions about the ADA, this is a great website.

ANSWERS to the quiz questions:

  1. Americans with Disabilities Act
  2. 1990/President George H.W. Bush
  3. For example:  equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.
  4. Some ideas: accessible technology, including the internet, service dogs, barriers to people with sensory impairments (vision, hearing).
  5. The ADA applies to states and territories,
  6. For example:  work place makes reasonable accommodations such as accessibility, flexible hours, a different chair.
  7. Your opinion.

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March 15, 2012 is a starting point–not a deadline for ADA compliance

April 18, 2012 by cpehrson

small boy kneeling with a bowling ball ready to put it into the adapted bowling trackThe Americans With Disabilities Act aims to make all of society accessible to people with disabilities.  On March 15, 2012, new (2010) ADA accessibility standards went into effect. The Department of Justice set that as the compliance date where business, professional, and government buildings are put on notice that they should no longer have architectural barriers that would stop people with disabilities from entering and using what is in the building.

The 2010 ADA Standards are now the new accessibility standards of the land.  This date should be viewed as a “starting place” for compliance of the new standards .  All new construction and any alterations to existing facilities should begin utilizing the new standards. 

What is new in the standards is a special focus on places of recreation — including all gyms, bowling alleys, boating docks, swimming pools, amusement parks, fitness rooms and golf courses, both full-size and miniature — which were not covered in the original law.

Pools, for example, must have two means of entry for disabled people. Lifts are the easiest solutions for small pools; larger pools can have sloped entries and grab-bar-equipped access routes called transfer walls.  Golf courses must become wheelchair accessible.  Playgrounds should have ramps and be covered with fibar,  engineered wood fibers that knit together to form a surface soft enough to cushion falls, yet firm enough for wheelchairs.

Everyone needs to be able to take part in fun indoor and outdoor activities.  Being in a wheelchair, having a vision impairment, or being developmentally disabled should not prevent someone from participating along with everyone else.  There are many organizations that recognize this great need, and provide accessible activities and events year round.

Locally in Cache County Utah, the  Common Ground Outdoor Adventures organization schedules many outdoor activities that are accessible to everyone, providing adaptive equipment if needed to make sure that all can participate.

Many community recreation programs now include adaptive sports and activities in their programs.  The Logan Parks and Recreation Center sponsors several activities for those with disabilities who live in Cache County, such as the TOP Sports program for children and youth, and the Adapative Aquatics summer program. 

Camp Kostopulos Dream Foundation provides recreation opportunities for individuals ages seven and up with mental or physical disabilities.

Wasatch Adaptive Sports provides affordable recreational and educational programs for children and adults with special needs. Programs operate year round to build strength, stamina and self-esteem while enhancing the quality of life for all participants.

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in 17 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness and participate with other Special Olympics athletes.
 
All recreational venues are now mandated to make their facilities available to all people, no matter what their disability. Though the Justice Department is responsible for ADA compliance, there are no ADA “police.” It’s up to individuals to report ADA violations. In Utah, the Disability Law Center and Disabled Rights Action Committee are available to help assure the rights of people with disabilities.
 
All people have the right to play and have fun in any community activitiy that is available.  Here’s hoping for a fun-filled, active summer for each of you! 
 
 

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Happy Anniversary, ADA!

July 26, 2011 by cpehrson

This month we celebrate the 21st anniversary of the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Twenty-one years of advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities is a noteworthy accomplishment.  Yet, we still have a long way to go before the barriers for people with disabilities are all broken down.

The Census Bureau shed some light on a disturbing statistic this year–12 percent of people without a disability have not earned a high school diploma; that figure more than doubles toa discouraging 28 percent for students with disabilities.  This statistic not only speaks to the struggles that schools are still addressing, but it impacts future issues that students with disabilities will face, such as post-secondary educational/training options, unemployment, and independence.

President Obama stated in his Proclamation on the Anniversary of the ADA (July 25, 2011), “…there is more work to be done and my Administration remains committed to ending all forms of discrimination and upholding the rights of Americans with disabilities…Together, we can ensure our country is not deprived of the full talents and contributions of the approximately 54 million Americans living with disabilities, and we will move forward with the work of providing pathways to opportunity to all of our people.”

The ADA has made a significant difference in the world of disabilities.  People with disabilities and their advocates continue to work towards equal opportunities for all.  Let’s hope that in the next decade, statistics will paint a different picture and it will truly be an occasion for celebration.

 

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Revised ADA regulations take effect today

March 15, 2011 by cpehrson

Twenty years ago the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed by President Bush– July 26, 1990.  After two decades, change is coming to the ADA.

Starting today, Tuesday, March 15, 2011,  the newly revised regulations will take effect.

“The new rules usher in a new day for the more than 50 million individuals with disabilities in this country,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights. “The rules will expand accessibility in a number of areas.”

Those areas include first-ever accessibility requirements for swimming pools, parks, and other recreational facilities.  Additionally, the revised regulations set standards for the use of wheelchairs versus other mobility devices and address accessible seating at entertainment venues and hotel room reservations.

Businesses will get some options with the new regulations, since only buildings constructed or altered after March 15, 2012 will have to comply with these new accessibility requirements.

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