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Survey: ADA has not improved quality of life

July 29th, 2010

From USA Today:

A survey commissioned by the Kessler Foundation/National Organization on Disabilities finds that the ADA has not made meaningful progress in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The survey shows that more must be done to help people with disabilities get ahead, said Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability.

“While education has improved considerably, joblessness has not. We as a nation must figure this out,” she said.

Among the survey’s key findings:

• People with disabilities still lag in key areas such as employment, access to health care and social interactions;

• 21% of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year, versus 59% for those without disabilities;

• 19% of people with disabilities said they did not get the medical care they needed in the past year, with lack of insurance coverage cited as the top reason;

• 48% of people with disabilities eat out at a restaurant twice a month, compared to 75% of those without disabilities; and

• 34% of disabled people say inadequate transportation is a problem, compared to 16% of those without disabilities, a gap that has widened 5 percentage points since 1986.

Related post here.

3 Responses to “Survey: ADA has not improved quality of life”

  1. Pamela Wilson Says:

    The ADA has not improved the quality of life for people with disabilities in the past 20 years? I shudder to think what life would have been in this country without it.

    There needs to be a comparison between the opportunities and quality of life of individuals today and people with disabilities twenty years ago, in addition to these questionable comparisons between people with disabilities and their mainstream peers today.

    Especially in this economy where only 59% of their peers had jobs in the past year, 21% is a far more respectable number than it would have been without the ADA.

    When advocates have passed a law in this decade as significant as the ADA was 20 years ago they will have earned the respect that those pioneers shared with every person who fought that good fight.

    Rather than disregarding the real impact of the ADA in gross generalizations, the disability community coalition might want to pay attention to discrimination within the disability hierarchy and individual situations that call out for justice.

    How has NOD been involved in the case of the 30 year old man with Down syndrome in Iowa who was fired after ten years working in his neighborhood Goodwill after his mom bought a shirt there on her day off?

    The folks who were working day and night to give us the ADA twenty years ago would have already petitioned Goodwill to rehire the employee and rewrite their policies with other employees with developmental disabilities in mind.

  2. Nicole LeBlanc Says:

    Agree. We also need to get rid of the institutional bias in Medicaid, and make Medicaid waivers an entitlement — not an option. End the waitlist now, expand eligibility, services, close institutions, day programs, sheltered workshops. Free our People!

  3. Steve Says:

    There are also a lot of people with certain types of learning and/or developmental disabilities who disproportionately wind up being involved in the criminal justice system. Perhaps it is necessary to either amend the ADA or make new national legislation to help interpret certain types of behavior that may be better understood as a form of communication. Not to excuse illegal behavior, but to put it in perspective and to better help people who really should not be in the system.

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More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

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