The Impact of the ADA in American Communities

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Hailed as the Bill of Rights for individuals with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has fulfilled much of its promise since it went into effect 25 years ago, according to a survey of disability leaders, released on July 23 in Washington, D.C. But the findings also reveal ongoing and emerging challenges and areas of opportunity.

Lex Frieden, a professor of biomedical informatics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), in conjunction with the ADA Participation Action Research Consortium, authored the non-scientific survey to gauge the ADA’s impact on individuals with disabilities and the broader disability community after 25 years. The survey was conducted from April 14 through May 17, 2015. In follow up to a similar survey conducted in 2010, this year’s survey polled 725 participants, representing more than 600 communities across all 50 states and three of the five U.S. territories.