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Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

July 24, 2015

By Eileen Elias
Senior Policy Advisor
Director, JBS Disability Services Center

Did you know that disabilities affect every community across the nation? 

A disability is a significant social, public health, and moral set of challenges. The condition does not have to be severe or permanent to count as a disability.

Our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted on July 26, 1990. Enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law providing protection against discrimination for people with disabilities. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public spaces.

Examples of ADA-covered disabilities include: deafness, blindness, an intellectual disability, partially or completely missing limbs or mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy and HIV infection.

In 2015, Federal agencies (through offices for civil rights) in conjunction with state and local governments are working toward a future in which all the doors are open to equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, integration and economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. 

A priority throughout my career has been  ensuring that the rights and needs of individuals with a disability are met. The JBS Disability Service Center’s purpose and funded programs, in partnership with other company initiatives, exemplify this commitment – addressing individuals’ transitions from institutional care to successful community-based living, through successful careers (based on higher education). 

Specifically, JBS is working with Kent State University, West Virginia University and Boston University on Project Career, to implement a program that merges assistive technology and vocational rehabilitation best practices to support postsecondary students with a traumatic brain injury transition to employment.

This is a time to celebrate the ADA, and to recognize that though progress has been made in understanding disability, and causes and strategies to prevent its onset and progression, more must be done. This includes prevention of secondary conditions, enhancing the role technology and universal design, and financing as well as environmental accommodations. 

 

Learn more about the ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Revised ADA Regulations

Learn more about Project Career: Keeping students with brain injuries in college 

Read more about JBS’ work with this population

 

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