Welcome to Day Two of the 5-Day Journey. As we continue the journey of better understanding the issues and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, today we focus on the laws that provide rights and protection to this population. Currently, Americans with disabilities constitute over 40 million people in the United States. Like with many subgroups, Americans with disabilities have fought a long, arduous legal fight to ensure equality access, equal treatment and equal inclusion in our society. For those interested in a more detailed overview of the history of the disability rights movement it can be found here.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities within our society. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability just as other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities and protections under the law in all areas of life. More information about the history of the ADA can be found here.
Further reading: Despite the ADA, equity is still out of reach
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the United States, ensuring all eligible children receive special education services and supports. This law mandates that public schools evaluate all students who are suspected of having a disability. It also ensures that all eligible students will receive a free and appropriate education that will help meet their individual needs. More information about the vital educational law, IDEA, can be found here.
How does the legal plight of individuals with disabilities mirror the plight of other individuals within our society as it relates to earning equal protections under the law?
How can we continue to advocate for Americans with disabilities to ensure equal access and accessibility in our ever changing society?
What are the next steps I can take to better understand how to access the resources and knowledge needed to ensure all individuals with disabilities receive the support they need?