It’s the 21st anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, a law that univocally bans discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the public and private sectors. The US was the first country to adopt national civil rights legislation that calls for equal access to jobs, transportation, public services, public spaces and much more. The ADA also made possible the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), under which children up to the age of 21 like my 14-year-old son Charlie have the right to a free and appropriate education in the least restricted environment.
Nearly one in five Americans — some 36 million people — has a disability and about 5 percent of children aged 5 to 17 are disabled. In a presidential proclamation, President Obama emphasized how, thanks to the ADA, individuals with disabilities lead “fuller lives in neighborhoods that are more accessible and have greater access to new technologies” while students with disabilities “now enjoy the same educational opportunities as their peers and are gaining the tools necessary to reach their greatest potential.” But much remains to be done to ensure that individuals with disabilities do not face discrimination in housing and in the workplace. 72 percent of those with disabilities do not work, compared to 27 percent of those of the same age without a disability. as Nirvi Shah writes EdWeek’s On Special Education blog.
Shah takes those figures from the US Census and also notes that
28 percent of those with a disability do not have a high school diploma, in comparison to 12 percent for those without a disability. Nearly 75 percent of students with disabilities in Texas have been suspended or expelled, versus 55 of students without a disability.
In other words, we’ve got a very long way to go in ensuring equal access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Disability advocates protested in Washington, D.C. and throughout the US today against a proposal that would make workers with disabilities something less than equal by setting guidelines on when they can be paid less than minimum wage. Under the proposal, individuals with disabilities could work for less than the minimum wage “if they meet certain age-related requirements and if they do so while receiving job training designed to prepare them for competitive employment,” says Disability Scoop. Workers are not supposed to stay in such subminimum wage situations for longer than six months unless they wish to.
Read more: accommodations, ada, aspergers, autism, civil-rights, developmental disability, disability, discrimination, employment, idea, mental health, minimum wage, mp, pdd-nos, philip-davies, special needs, wheelchair, workers
Photo of students at the Gong-Gong Garden and Putt-Putt Golf Course Grand Opening by gkhorticulture
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