Americans with Disabilites Act Celebrates its 20th Anniversary Today!

Today marks the day of a significant anniversary, and I wanted to share our thoughts with you. As most of you may or may not already know, SimplyHome is an affiliation of care providers who have been providing supports for the disabled and elderly since 1990. Innovative Services  began community based supports in 2003 and uses SimplyHome technology in conjunction with their services to better assist individuals with special needs.  Innovative Services’ Chief Operating Officer Rick Bahr discussed with us the affects this law has had on the company through the years.

Bahr explains, "The ADA speaks to the right of access and the issue of discrimination It challenges our communities to eliminate barriers or and negative attitudes towards the disabled. The law speaks to our collective values in all affiliated organizations. Creating solutions to ensure people with disabilities have options to live in apartments, within neighborhoods, to have options to make choices without staff influence and ensuring participation in their communities is what we do."

Sometimes economics is the greatest barrier, again a barrier SimplyHome identifies and creates solutions for.  So, after 20 years, has the ADA made a difference?

Bahr says yes! "Taking on the mission to serve others requires a commitment to not only identify a persons needs, but also their wants and dreams. Once we understand what a person wants it becomes a passion to bridge gaps and find or create solutions on the life road the person has chosen. This is what the ADA means to me," says Bahr. " It challenges all of us as a citizen to work on full inclusion for all people in all things; those things being what a the person has chosen regulated only by the financial means of our society."

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates its 20th anniversary today.This groundbreaking civil rights law was intended to “establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.” This protection is intended to be similar to that afforded Americans on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Disability is defined by the ADA as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." The determination of whether a particular condition is considered a disability is made on a case-by-case basis. Certain specific conditions, such as current substance abuse and visual impairment that is correctable by prescription lenses, are excluded as disabilities.