Celebrating the Impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Son walking with disabled father in wheelchair on wooden bridge at park, pointing finger at something.

We celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the positive impact it has had on millions of Americans, including seniors. Signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush, the ADA ensures equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. It has opened doors—literally and figuratively—allowing for greater independence and inclusion.

In honor of the ADA and Disability Pride Month, let’s test our knowledge with some true-false questions. Do you know what the law did?

True or False: The ADA only protects people with physical disabilities.


The ADA covers a wide range of disabilities, including mental health conditions, intellectual disabilities, and chronic diseases. The law defines a disability as an impairment that “substantially limits one or more major life activities.” This broad definition ensures that individuals with various types of disabilities receive protection and support.

True or False: Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.


Businesses with 15 or more employees must make reasonable modifications (“accommodations”) so people with disabilities can perform their jobs effectively. For example, an employer may need to make the schedule flexible so a worker can receive medical care, adjust a desk’s height to fit a wheelchair, or provide technology like a screen reader. Accommodations are required for the application and interview process as well.

True or False: The ADA applies to both public and private sectors.


The ADA applies to all sectors, including public and private entities. Title II of the ADA covers all public entities, like state and local governments, while Title III covers private businesses and nonprofit organizations that provide public services. Title III includes restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and more. By mandating accessibility in these areas, the ADA ensures that people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of society.

True or False: The ADA mandates that all websites must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Somewhat True

The ADA does not explicitly mention websites. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has consistently maintained that the ADA applies to all the goods, services, privileges, or activities offered on the web. This means businesses should ensure their websites are usable by individuals with disabilities, including those who rely on screen readers or other assistive technologies. While specific guidelines are still evolving, the four Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) principles—perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust—are the universally accepted technical standards.

True or False: The ADA has been amended to strengthen its protections.


The ADA was amended in 2008 to restore its original intent, which had been narrowed by several Supreme Court decisions. The amendments broadened the definition of disability, making it easier for individuals to seek protection under the law. They also emphasized that determining a disability should not require extensive analysis.

For over three decades, the Americans with Disabilities Act has championed the rights and inclusion of individuals with disabilities. One of the original drafters of the bill explained, “The ADA was a response to an appalling problem: widespread, systemic, inhumane discrimination against people with disabilities.” By understanding and supporting this legislation, we contribute to a more equitable and accessible society. As we celebrate Disability Pride Month, let’s continue to advocate for the rights and dignity of people with disabilities, ensuring that we build a more inclusive world for everyone.

Categories: Uncategorized