World Of The Disableds – Do you Know anything About People With Disabilities? What do you really need to know about disability? If you’re not disabled yourself, and don’t have a child, spouse, brother or sister, or parent with disabilities, how knowledgeable and up to date on disability issues are you expected to be?
“what should ordinary people know about disability? How much should non-disabled people be held accountable for knowing, and what should disabled people still expect to have to explain? There are no definitive answers or boundaries.”
When the Americans with Disabilities Act passed 30 years ago, expectations were lower than they are today, but not much. One of the undisputed strengths of the ADA is that it provided fairly detailed guidelines for how to accommodate a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. More importantly, it established what “equal opportunity” and “reasonable accommodation” means for people with disabilities. This gave millions of Americans, most for the first time, a clear set of principles on how to treat disabled people right, or at least fairly. For disabled people, this marked the successful end of a long first stage of the disability rights movement … establishing that disability itself was as much a social, political, and human rights matter as it was a medical concern. For most Americans not already familiar with disability matters, it formed a solid base for building workable and humane relationships with disabled people they would come to know much better in the years to come.
But now in 2020, the question remains — what should ordinary people know about disability? How much should non-disabled people be held accountable for knowing, and what should disabled people still expect to have to explain? There are no definitive answers or boundaries. The ADA still offers the best guidelines. But 30 years later, we have all learned a bit more, and our thinking and expectations about disability have evolved. Read more