In the summer of 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law ground-breaking legislation created to improve the lives of people throughout the United States. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandated for the first time that individuals could not be discriminated against because of their disability.
This broad civil rights law paved the way for individuals with disabilities to receive the same opportunities and experiences as their abled peers in all aspects of public life including education, employment, and the community. The act extends beyond the customarily visible accommodations, such as accessible ramps and parking spaces. The bill's regulations include accommodations for individuals with unseen, or “hidden” disabilities, such as psychological and learning impairments, and for people with autism.
Rutgers University has recently embarked on a yearlong celebration of its 250th anniversary. The Office of Disability Services takes a side-by-side look at 250 years of Rutgers events and disability milestones in this timeline, including recognition of ADA’s 25th anniversary. Significant developments in services and tools for persons with disabilities are highlighted in this chronology.
In the Alexander Library on College Avenue Campus there is a display featuring some of these disability milestones. Other events celebrating the ADA's 25th anniversary will be announced on the ODS website throughout the year.
Raising awareness of disability issues is an ongoing mission for the Office of Disability Services. Outreach to students, parents, faculty, and all members of the university community helps towards improving the college experience for individuals with disabilities at Rutgers. The Office of Disability Services and RU-tv Network have recently teamed up to produce a video that explains what ODS does, while sharing the stories of some students' experiences. You can view the video here.
To learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, visit ada.gov.