Why the Future of the ADA Should Include More Support for People With Developmental Disabilities

Robert Schmus
Diverse hands coming together.
Diverse hands coming together.

Thirty years ago, the United States passed a bill known as the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The purpose of this law was to prevent discrimination against those with disabilities, such as medical, physical, mental, and developmental disabilities. Under this act, such individuals are protected from discrimination with regards to employment, public transportation, housing, healthcare, and voting.

So far, I’ve seen that much progress has been made since this act was passed. There are better accommodations for people with disabilities, such as seating for those with physical disabilities and interpreters for those who are hearing impaired. This is all wonderful news. However, more needs to be done.

In regards to mental health, there continues to be much stigma towards those with certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This stigma has led to discrimination against those within this population. This in turn has led to lawmakers implementing ways to make it difficult for those with mental health diagnoses to obtain the support they need. This should not happen.

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Stigma is one thing, but I also feel the ADA can do more to make more services available, especially for those with developmental disabilities. For instance, for many years there has been a lack of services for autistic adults. Such services include employment, education, healthcare and financial aid. Although many nonprofits have recently helped with creating services, I feel the ADA should have helped with this, as having access to services should be a right.

As you can see, accomplishments have been made for those with disabilities through the ADA. However, more still needs to be done so those with disabilities are granted the rights they need to live fulfilling lives.

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