Your easy guide to understanding the ADA

Hey there! At We Include, we’re here to make sure everyone gets to join in on the fun and live their best life. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a big part of that mission. It’s all about making sure people with disabilities have equal opportunities and access to all areas of public life.

Let’s break it down, shall we? 

What is the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a really important law that was signed on July 26, 1990. Its main goal is to get rid of the barriers that stop people with disabilities from fully participating in everyday life. This law covers a lot of ground, including jobs, transportation, public places, communication, and even government services. In other words, it’s a game-changer!

One of the big things the ADA does is make sure people with disabilities can find and keep jobs by requiring workplaces to have things like ramps or special equipment. It also ensures public transportation like buses and trains are accessible, so everyone can get around easily. Plus, public places like restaurants, hotels, and parks must be designed to welcome people with disabilities, with features like wider doorways and braille signs. The ADA also helps with communication, making sure TV shows have closed captions and printed materials come in large print or audio formats. Lastly, it ensures government services are easy to access, from voting to visiting public buildings. Overall, the ADA helps everyone live their lives fully and fairly.

"Without the ADA, accessibility would just be a wishful thought. It's the backbone of inclusion, ensuring everyone gets a seat at the table."

- Robin Lally, Founder of

Why the ADA Matters

The ADA is a game-changer because it protects the rights of individuals with disabilities and ensures their needs are met. It helps create a fair and inclusive society where everyone can thrive, no matter their abilities. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty!

"As a person with Cerebral palsy who relies on a wheelchair for mobility, the ADA is essential. It breaks down barriers and turns spaces into places where I belong."

- Melissa C., We Include Board Member

How Well Do You Know Your ADA Rights? Survey Results Are In!

Ever wondered if the ADA is hitting all the right notes? Well, we did too! That’s why we whipped up a survey to find out what people think the ADA does well, what it’s missing, what it covers but isn’t enforced well, and how well most people understand the rights and protections it offers. We polled not just adults with disabilities but also their family members and caregivers.

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The results are in, and it’s time to see who’s giving the ADA a standing ovation and who thinks it needs an encore. This survey has shown us where the ADA shines, where it could use a little more spotlight, and how well everyone knows their stuff. Let’s dive into the findings and see how we can all keep the ADA rocking and rolling!

90% of survey participants understood the ADA somewhat well or not well at all.

93% of participants are looking for a resource to better understand the ADA.

x% of participants felt there was not a resource that made the ADA easy to understand.

Over half of participants were not aware of job placement resources for individuals with disabilities.

Most participants felt the ADA best covers physical accessibility, that there is room for improvement for employment discrimination and housing opportunities.

Title I: Employment

Hiring

The ADA makes sure that companies can’t treat people with disabilities unfairly when they apply for jobs, get promotions, or get paid. This means that if someone with a disability is qualified for a job, they get the same chance to show their skills as anyone else. It’s like making sure everyone gets to play the game by the same rules. This helps people with disabilities to have the same opportunities to grow in their careers and get rewarded for their hard work.

Imagine you and your friends are playing a game, and everyone must follow the same rules. No one gets special treatment or is left out. That’s what the ADA does in the workplace. It ensures that people with disabilities can demonstrate their abilities without being unfairly judged. Companies are required to consider their skills and experience just like any other applicant.

The ADA also guarantees fair pay. If two people are doing the same job, they should receive the same pay. This helps create a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected. By setting these empowering rules, the ADA encourages companies to focus on what people can do. This fosters a more inclusive and supportive work environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

Of HR Professionals Say That Their Company Culture Has Improved Since Hiring Employees With Disabilities

Communications

Accommodations

58% of Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities Come at Zero Cost.

So what’s the fuss all about?

Empowerment

Title II: Public Services

Public Transportation

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that helps people with disabilities. It makes sure that public places, including transportation, are accessible to everyone. If you have a disability, you have the right to use buses, trains, and other public transport just like everyone else. Public transportation must be easy to use and safe for people with disabilities. This means buses and trains need to have ramps, lifts, or low floors so people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids can get on and off easily. Stops and schedules should be available in different formats, like Braille or large print, for people who are blind or have low vision. Service animals must be allowed on public transportation to help people with disabilities. Drivers and other staff should be trained to help passengers with disabilities and know how to use accessibility features.

Public transportation provides many accommodations to ensure accessibility. Ramps and lifts help people in wheelchairs get on and off buses and trains. Priority seating is available, saving some seats for people with disabilities so they can sit close to the driver or exit. Buses and trains might announce stops out loud for people who are blind or have low vision, while visual displays show route information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. People with disabilities can bring their service animals on buses and trains, and public transportation should accommodate different mobility devices like canes, walkers, and scooters.

Accessible transportation helps everyone be part of the community. It allows people with disabilities to go to school, work, and have fun, just like everyone else. Remember, if you see something that isn’t accessible, speak up. You have the right to accessible transportation, and together we can make sure everyone gets where they need to go.

Public Building and Spaces

Your Right to Accessible Public Buildings and Spaces

Everyone deserves to use public buildings and spaces like libraries, schools, parks, and government offices. These places need ramps, elevators, or other ways for people using wheelchairs or mobility aids to get in and out easily. Signs should be in braille for those who are blind, and there should be assistive listening systems for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Service animals are also welcome, ensuring that people with disabilities can navigate public areas with their trusted companions. It’s about making sure everyone can get around and enjoy these spaces.

What Must Public Entities Do?

Public entities have to make sure buildings are accessible. This means they need ramps, elevators, and wide doorways so everyone can move around without any trouble. Information should be available in different formats, like braille, large print, or audio, to keep everyone informed. Paths and sidewalks must be smooth and clear of obstacles for people using mobility devices. Staff should know how to assist visitors with disabilities and understand how to use accessibility features. Service animals must be allowed to accompany their handlers everywhere they go. It’s all about making sure everyone gets the help they need.

Examples of Accommodations

Public buildings and spaces provide many accommodations to ensure accessibility. Ramps and elevators help people in wheelchairs move easily between floors. Wide doorways and automatic doors make it simple for everyone to enter and exit. Braille signs and audio announcements provide important information for people who are blind or have low vision. Assistive listening systems help people who are deaf or hard of hearing understand announcements or participate in meetings. Public paths and sidewalks are kept smooth and obstacle-free for people using canes, walkers, and scooters, so everyone can get around easily. And of course, service animals are permitted to assist their handlers in navigating these spaces.

Title III: Public Accommodations

Accessibility in Businesses

At We Include, we believe everyone should be able to go to public places, use services, and enjoy events just like anyone else. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helps make this happen.

The ADA creates rules for all kinds of places, like restaurants, hotels, theaters, and stores, to make sure they are accessible to everyone. For example, the ADA says that if a place has stairs, they should also have ramps so people who use wheelchairs can get in. The ADA also makes sure that aisles, doorways, and restrooms are wide enough for wheelchairs to move through easily.

In addition, the ADA encourages these places to provide special tools to help people with hearing or vision problems. This could mean having hearing aids for those who can’t hear well or visual aids for those who can’t see well.

By following these rules from the ADA, everyone can enjoy the same places and activities, making the world a more inclusive and welcoming place for all!

Retailer Rules

Retailers have a very important job in making sure everyone can shop comfortably. Under the ADA, they need to remove physical barriers in existing buildings whenever they can. This means things like adding ramps or wide doors for wheelchair access. They also need to make sure that any new or renovated buildings are accessible from the start. Additionally, retailers should provide aids and services that help people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities communicate effectively. This might include having sign language interpreters, braille menus, or devices that help people hear better.

Ticketed Events

Going to fun events like concerts or NFL games should be enjoyable for everyone! The ADA makes sure that there are accessible seating options available, including spots for friends or companions to sit together. It also ensures that everyone has an equal chance to buy tickets, whether they’re buying online, by phone, or in person. Event websites and promotional materials must have clear information about accessible seating and services. The ADA requires that event organizers make reasonable changes to their policies to ensure everyone can join in the fun. For instance, tickets that are reserved for people with disabilities can only be sold to people without disabilities under certain conditions. These conditions include when all the other tickets are sold out (not counting luxury boxes or suites), when all the other tickets in a specific seating area are sold out, and when all the other tickets in a specific price range are sold out. This helps make sure that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to enjoy the event.

These rules and changes are important because they help create a world where everyone, including people with disabilities, can enjoy the same services and amenities as everyone else. This means everyone can have fun and feel included, whether they’re shopping at a store or cheering at a game. Because nobody puts accessibility in the corner!

Title IV: Telecommunications

Communication Accessibility

The Americans with Disabilities Act says that companies that provide phone and internet services must make sure that everyone can use their services, no matter what type of disability they may have.For example, if someone is deaf, they can use special phones that allow them to type and read messages instead of talking on the phone. There are also video services that let people who use sign language communicate with an interpreter through video calls. And for people who have trouble talking, there are relay services that help them make phone calls.

The ADA also makes sure that TV shows have words called closed captioning at the bottom of the screen so that people who can’t hear well can still understand what’s being said. This law is all about making sure that everyone can communicate and enjoy TV. This is important because it helps make sure that nobody is left out just because of how they communicate or hear.

Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions

Antiretaliation and Coercion

Title V protects individuals who assert their rights under the ADA from any form of retaliation or coercion. This means you can report discrimination or request accommodations without the fear of negative consequences. These protections ensure that everyone feels safe and empowered to seek the rights and accommodations they deserve.

Interaction with Other Laws

Title V clarifies how the ADA interacts with other federal and state laws to ensure a comprehensive approach to disability rights. It coordinates with other civil rights laws to provide maximum protection for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, it outlines the responsibilities of federal agencies in enforcing the ADA, ensuring that the protections are broad and effectively implemented.

Our Role in Inclusion

We’re doing our part to simplify the ADA so that individuals with disabilities know their rights. We believe everyone deserves equal opportunities for employment, public services, and accommodations. Our goal is that, through ADA education, individuals will be empowered to advocate for themselves and others. Together, we strive to dismantle barriers and foster inclusivity for all Americans with disabilities!

Photos of the Interns with a different HUG friend

Conclusion

The Americans with Disabilities Act has made a huge difference in the lives of millions. By promoting accessibility, equality, and inclusion, the ADA helps ensure that people with disabilities can live fulfilling, independent lives. Whether you’re a business owner, event planner, or just a community member, understanding and supporting the ADA is key to building a more inclusive world. Together, we can make a real impact! So, let’s get out there and make the world a better place for everyone!