Ralph from California

By Benetech, posted on

How has the ADA impacted your life regarding travel/mobility, education, employment, or any other aspect?

I travel extensively with my wife who uses a power wheelchair. (In fact, one of our trips was to Washington to attend the ADA signing ceremony in July of 1990.) Since that time we’ve noticed the significant improvement in physical accessibility in the years since the enactment of the ADA, especially in states other than California. For me personally, I think probably the biggest change has been the ability to access information in braille and accessible electronic formats-especially banking and financial information. while the Internet was only in its infancy when the ADA was enacted, I have no doubt that it would remain largely inaccessible if it were not for the ADA.

Can you share a “before and after” experience; e.g., before the ADA I couldn’t do X or was denied access to Y, and thanks to the ADA I can do Z.

One example would be using audible traffic signals. Before the ADA one had to rely on listening to the flow of traffic, but now at many major intersections the audible signal provide confirmation of when the light has changed. Another example would be audio description for movies. this makes it possible to watch a movie without having to have my wife or a friend interpret what is going on.

What advances in disability rights would you like to see in the next 30 years?

One area the ADA has not touched is controls on appliances. As manufacturers are moving more and more to touch screens, it is becoming nearly impossible to buy an appliance I can operate independently. the law needs to be changed to make clear that newly manufactured equipment must be accessible.

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