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Barriers Remain for Disabled People as ADA Reaches 30 Year Mark

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Image credit: Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

State agencies across Michigan are creating a series of events to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. But some experts say the law still has pain points three decades after its passage.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) changed the nation’s landscape.

It requires things like curbs that can accommodate wheelchairs and so-called “handicapped” parking spaces that have now become commonplace.

The ADA is even supposed to make internet sites more accessible to those with a disability, though the federal government’s enforcement of that provision has varied.

But the head of Wayne State University’s Disability Law Clinic, David Moss, says the law still has not made good on its promise to create a surge in companies hiring people with disabilities.


Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation with Wayne State University Disability Law Clinic Director David Moss


I think there is concern among many employers that hiring people with disabilities will expose them to potential disability discrimination claims by those employees. They are concerned that accommodations may be costly,” he said.

Moss notes the ADA has helped change attitudes towards those with a disability.

He says people with disabilities were often routinely kept away from the rest of society before the landmark law took effect.

There are still a very sizable percentage of people with disabilities, even people under age 65 with disabilities, who are living in nursing homes and other institutional settings. But the number has come way, way down,” Moss said.

The state of Michigan began a year of celebrating the ADA with a speech by Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. State officials also plan numerous virtual workshops and other events to showcase the resources available to people with disabilities in Michigan.

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Quinn Klinefelter, Senior News Editor

Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.

qklinefelter@wdet.org

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