The ADA is a civil rights law. The law itself can only provide recourse when discrimination based on disability occurs. The Northeast ADA Center firmly believes in the principles embedded in the ADA and in a fairly applied standard of accessibility for all which extends beyond compliance to achieve full inclusion. The role of the Northeast ADA Center is one of education and training, not of direct service or advocacy. The role of advocating for change in communities across our region is that of the individuals and groups who encounter discrimination or discriminatory behavior in the places where they live, work, learn, shop and play. The Northeast ADA Center has informational resources to support those who want to promote understanding of the ADA locally, and who strive to improve the diversity and disability inclusiveness of their business, workplace, and community.
The ADA was originally passed over 20 years ago and yet many people still struggle to understand exactly what the law means and how it translate into every day practices when interacting with the public. The fact is that no one knows exactly who has a disability or whether that disability will meet the definition set forth by the ADA.
So, how do you support change or ensure that the ADA is implemented to the fullest extent possible in your organization or community? The Northeast ADA Center promotes best practices for interacting with people with disabilities, for providing accommodations or modifications, for offering accessible events, and in many other areas. If you want to find out more about any of these, contact our technical assistance professionals.
When education and advocacy don't help to make change, a person with a disability who feels they have been discriminated against may choose to file a charge under either state law or under the ADA. Filing a charge against an inaccessible establishment, or an employer or business that has treated you unfairly because of your disability, can be difficult and time consuming. So, why should you do it? Sometimes, entities that have responsibilities under the ADA will only change their behavior, policy, or practice when not making the change will have some negative financial impact, will result in negative publicity, or when the change is mandated by an enforcement agency. In those cases, filing a charge lets the person with a disability make a statement that discrimination is a violation of their civil rights and is not acceptable. If the case is resolved in favor of the person with a disability, then change will happen which will ultimately benefit many people with disabilities and anyone who believes in making our society as inclusive as possible.
The ADA Trainer Network is a group of trainers across the nation who use a curriculum provided by the ADA National Network to educate local communities about the ADA. Members of the Advanced Trainer Network also initiate change projects in their communities. These change projects might focus on working with a local transportation company to understand the need for accessible transportation options or a local government to promote accessible voting opportunities for the entire community. Contact us to find out more or to find an ADA Trainer Network trainer in your community.
Many business leaders understand the role of the ADA and many support its mission of equal opportunity for all people, including those with disabilities. However, translation of this mission and of the organizational policies that support it to all of the managers and supervisors who actually implement the law on a daily basis within these organizations is difficult for even those with the best of intentions. The Northeast ADA Center created the Just-in-Time Project to support the dissemination of organizational policies and practices around disability to managers and supervisors in a format that can be accessed when and where it is needed. We implement this project nationally through the ADA National Network. Employers are invited to contact the Northeast ADA Center to learn more about how they can bring the Just-in-Time Project to their organization.
The Northeast ADA Center has created the following Voting Accessibility Fact Sheet to help you understand what the various regulations and requirements are around the rights of voters with disabilities and the responsibilities of polling sites to provide physical and programmatic access to citizens with disabilities.
The Northeast ADA Center has created a Research brief, training, and a list of external web resources that may provide useful information when considering the accessibility of your emergency response plans.