The 30th anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act is coming up on July 26. That is when President George H.W. Bush signed into law the act, “which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services.”
The law has allowed more people to contribute economically and intellectually to society. In 2019, 19.3 percent of persons with a disability were employed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
For whatever reason, this has been one of those issues that I’ve always had an interest in. When I was working as a librarian, I often took the ADA questions. In the main, the need to make “reasonable accommodations” has become easier with technological advances.
We need to be more accommodating
I am sure I’ve complained about how people make it difficult for those with handicapping conditions to get around, including in my neighborhood. The people who park their cars across the sidewalk, or block the crosswalk, for their own convenience tick me off. They make it difficult for people who are blind or are using wheelchairs, canes, or walkers to traverse.
A blind woman I know needed help doing her laundry recently. Usually, there are machines in the building, which she was quite capable of using. But the landlord is switching them out and the delivery of the new washers and dryers were delayed.
So I walked her pretty much kitty-corner from her house to the laundromat. The first thing I noticed was that drivers are not all that considerate of a woman walking across the street using a cane. On both legs of the trip, automobiles got WAY too close to us. She says it happens to her all of the time.
Then we go into the laundromat. I hadn’t been in one in years. back in the day, the washing machines had specific spaces for the quarters, so you can tell how much it cost. The downside happens when the laundromat owner wants to raise prices.
Now they just have slots for the quarters. But how many? The front loaders were $3.25 each, the top loaders $2.25, according to the digital display. But there would be no way for a sightless person to know that. The dryers were 25 cents for seven minutes, and the start button was whether you wanted the temperature to be high or low.
It’s good for me to experience the world in ways that help me understand what others go through.