After 25 Years, What Progress Has The ADA Made For People With Disabilities?

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Photo: ADA 25th anniversary Denver celebration
A Denver celebration for the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities act.

There will be celebrations this weekend for a civil rights law. President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990.

While the law has benefited many over the past 25 years, there is still room for improvement, says Jeff Moyer of Evergreen. He's blind and says the federal law has not been as helpful for those who are visually impaired: "Blindness and people with the inability to read have been excluded by the ADA concerning navigating the built environment: buildings, room-specific location, public transit and, of course, intersection crossing."

For example, the law doesn't require audible cues on all crossing signals at street intersections to aid blind people.

Rachael Stafford, an attorney and project director at the Rocky Mountain ADA Center, understands Moyer's concerns. Originally conceived as a nondiscriminatory employment law, she thinks the ADA now needs to go a step further.

"The easier things to tackle have been things like accessible bathrooms and entryways," Stafford says. "There are specs that tell you how to do that and what those measurements are. The harder things to tackle are what else do we need to make things accessible, how do we speak to the blind and deaf community and the people with the hidden or invisible disabilities, such as PTSD."

Stafford spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. She reflected on the ADA. Click the audio above to listen to the full interview.


Photo: ADA 25th anniversary timeline