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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted into law in 1980 to address many areas of concern regarding accommodations made by society for persons with disabilities. As a result of this legislation, there have been significant changes in actions and attitudes.
Physical facilities have been impacted by the ADA. Buildings regularly used by the public, such as business offices, restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues, must have handicap-accessible entrances - which means a ramp instead of stairs, power-assisted openers on doors if needed, and widths adequate for a wheelchair to pass through. In the same way, there must be handicap-accessible restrooms and seating space and tables designed for use by wheelchair-bound patrons.
Availability of adaptive equipment is another area in which there have been changes. Employers are required to provide devices allowing persons with disabilities to complete the activities needed for their employment. This may include specialized desks or other furniture, computers and software allowing for transcription of spoken words to print and vice versa, and other types of accommodations to support job responsibilities. Employers must also work with employees to schedule work hours in response to the needs of the disabled employee.
Society has become more supportive of providing training and opportunities for disabled person to become involved. Signers are frequently present in large public events to support those who have hearing impairments. Signs or labels in public buildings now include Braille as well as printed information. Job-training programs for disabled persons have greatly increased in number, kinds of training provided, and services offered to support disabled persons in obtaining and retaining employment.
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