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Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 26

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Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 26

July 29, 2016

July 26th was the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a sweeping piece of legislation that significantly advanced the rights and access for people with disabilities. The Administration marked the occasion with a Presidential proclamation, as well as other events and new resources released. 

In his proclamation, President Obama promised to keep moving the work of the ADA forward, saying, "we know our work to expand opportunity and confront the stigma that persists surrounding disabilities is not yet finished: We have to address the injustices that linger and remove the barriers that remain.”

Tom Harkin, who retired after serving many terms as a Senator from Iowa, and who was instrumental in the drafting and ultimate passage of the ADA, released a video celebrating the accomplishments over the past quarter-century, as well as looking forward to more progress. 

The ADA National Network and its ten regional ADA Centers are one important tool for this work. Funded by ACL's National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), the ADA National Network provides a comprehensive "one-stop" resource for information, guidance, and training on the ADA.

The network has developed an ADA Anniversary Toolkit which includes a  timeline and overview of the ADA, as well as ideas for celebrating the anniversary.

Last year, ACL celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ADA with a guest blog series featuring reflections from a number of disability community leaders. Here are just a few highlights:

·       Yes, we did! And there’s more to do. by Judy Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights, U.S. Department of State

·       Assistive Technology 25 Years After the ADA by Marty Exline, Director, Missouri Assistive Technology

·       The 25th Anniversary of the ADA: Celebrating Progress, Re-envisioning the Future by Lex Frieden, Director, Independent Living Research Utilization Program, TIRR Memorial Hermann

·       The Four Pillars of Integration by Donna Meltzer, CEO, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities