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July 26, 2013 was the 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.

The Americans with Disabilities Act or the ADA provides civil rights protections for individuals with disabilities.  It guarantees equal opportunities in telecommunications, government services, employment, transportation, and public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants.

The ADA protects three categories of people:

  1. Those with a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one major life activity;
  2. Those who have a record of physical or mental impairment; and
  3. Those who are perceived as impaired regardless of their actual impairment.

The definition of disability under the ADA does not include specific impairments or physical characteristics indicating impairment.

To comply with the ADA, businesses and government must remove barriers to accessing goods and services, provide auxiliary aids and services, modify policies to eliminate discrimination and eliminate unnecessary eligibility criteria that segregate those with disabilities.

The ADA has not only helped improve the lives of those with disabilities, it has made the lives of every American easier.  Just one example:  By requiring wider doors and ramps, parents and grandparents with children in strollers now find it easier to access sidewalks, public restrooms, restaurants and movie theaters.

For more information about the ADA, including its requirements as well as how to get assistance with compliance visit http://www.ada.gov/.

How has the ADA made your life easier?