Who? Us?

We are two disabled, oldish women who have been adventuring through life for years. We are talking about how disabilities, both visible and not, change the way we enjoy our retirement.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Donna Speaks: Oh, ADA, why don't you work?

The American with Disabilities Act  ADA) was passed in 1991.  That was, do the math, 24 years ago.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. It also establishes requirements for telecommunications relay services. Why then are we, the handicapped, still fighting battles day after day when the war was allegedly won in 1991?

For 24 years, the ADA has mandated that certain federal agencies enforce this law.  The following is a list of those agencies and their responsibilities under the ADA.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)       
The Civil Rights Center  
These agencies are supposed to enforce regulations covering employment. The EEOC is known mainly for its work in the area of sexual harassment.  The next time you have an opportunity to converse with an individual with a handicap, ask about the help they've received from the EEOC.  To receive assistance from the EEOC, handicapped individuals can only hope to be sexually harassed.

The Civil Rights Center cries underpaid, too few employees, and all the other normal complaints of every government agency that ever existed in the whole wide world.   

The Department of Transportation                             

DOT is supposed to enforce regulations governing transit.  How many buses, trains, planes, etc. have you been on since 1991.  Did you/do you see accommodations made for the handicapped to get on/off or in/out of any form of transportation? How many bathrooms in these "transit thingies" had/have the high toilet, the hand rails, the low sink, an ease of entry/exit?  Where is DOT when you need her? And how many of the DOT lifts are installed and how many of the ones that are installed actually work?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 
The FCC is supposed to enforce regulations covering telecommunication services. Almost all phones are equipped for the deaf to use.  But how many are made for the hands of an arthritic, the eyes of the blind, the brains of the electronically compromised, e.g., me? Calling Ma Bell (and Yelcot, the local phone company…)

The Department of Justice                                         

The DOJ is supposed to enforce regulations governing public accommodations and state and local government services.  When I was in graduate school in the mid-90's, a fellow wheel-chair bound student had to sue Tulane university.  Why, pray tell, you may ask?.  Their School of Social Work inhabited three floors of a building with only stairs to get from 1 to 2 to 3.  Wheelchairs cannot negotiate stairs.  Please note: this was the School of Social Work, violating their own Code of Ethics. 

The courthouse in Mountain View has a one person chair-lift from the first to the second floor.  In order to use this chair lift, you have to find the "Keeper of the Keys" to unlock this device.  You could get to the second-floor faster, easier and more comfortable if you crawled on all fours. 

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB)                                       
The ATBCB is supposed to issue guidelines and ensure that buildings, facilities, and transit vehicles are accessible and usable by people with disabilities.  Where do they hide those guidelines? Maybe hidden somewhere in the pages of ColorRama.  

Reserve a handicapped room at a hotel/motel, you could get anything from only a flashing light by the door/phone to a walk-in shower with a seat.  Ask the handicapped social worker who got stuck in the tub in her hotel room at last year's Arkansas State Conference in Little Rock at the Wyndham Hotel.  Please note:  this was a social worker at the yearly State Conference for Social Workers.

Winning a War is Highly Over Rated.

Oh, Dear Althea, have a good day.

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