Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Durham News column: Our Disability Challenge

A snippet from this month's column on how disabilities are viewed by the public, and how the City is handling compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
How are we doing in the Bull City in terms of the ADA? The City of Durham Web site says it will "make all reasonable modifications to city facilities to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all City programs, services, and activities." In terms of physical disabilities, that includes what most of us notice around us each day – carving curb cuts into sidewalks at intersections, providing buses that "kneel" to accommodate wheelchair access, and providing access to information and services for residents with speech, hearing and/or vision impairments.

In 2005, as a result of a complaint that several city-owned facilities constructed after 1992 did not met ADA Standards, including the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and Stadium, City Hall, the Carolina Theatre/Cinema, and several city parking facilities, an agreement was reached with the federal government to remedy the situation. The city requested and received an extension and projects full compliance by December 2010.

For people with "invisible," not-always-readily apparent disabilities (diabetes, hearing impairment, mental illness, etc.), the issue of what the public perceives as a disability versus the reality of what constitutes disability still represents a wide cultural gap, despite the ADA being in place for almost 20 years.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this because those with invisible disabilities truly get left out of the mix. If you aren't drooling, walking around like Quasimodo, etc., then people assume you're 'normal', whatever that looks like these days. Your blog: fantastic!