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Twenty-two years ago, historic and liberating legislation, comprehensive in scope, was enacted as the culmination of decades of work by activists, politicians, and professionals.  Clearly a bipartisan effort, although disproportionately moved forward by Democrats, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by Pres. George H. W. Bush.  Doors were opened for American citizens living with disabilities that had been not only literally closed, but effectively locked, in virtually every imaginable aspect of life, from employment and public accommodations to housing and health care.

Implementation was slow and spotty at first, and often required lengthy and costly litigation to enforce.  Activists have remained vigilant and continue to work toward realizing its promise of equal rights, access, and opportunities for all of our citizens regardless of their health or how they have adapted to physical or mental limitations.  I've had reason to think about the ADA again in a particular way this week.  In the absence of our scheduled author, for this week's KosAbility, newinfluence, who has been called away for medical tests of her own, I decided it might be a good time for us to revisit the ADA.  I'll start with a few experiences, thoughts and links across the fold, and then I'd like to read some of yours.

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic. There are two parts to each diary. First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be spayed or neutered.

As many of you may know, I am currently occupied with the preparation phase for the November 1 opening of a local church-related non-profit.  We will be primarily serving a lower-income population, a category which, unfortunately, still includes a disproportionate number of persons living with disabilities.  While churches and church-controlled institutions are specifically exempted from the ADA's requirements unless receiving federal funds, we obviously are committed to complying voluntarily.  I mean, duh!

While still in the site selection phase of our project, I was astounded by the fact that none of the available commercial spaces in our downtown core were ADA compliant.  That's right, not one!  Most did not even have fully accessible entrances.  Where we ultimately ended up is a complex divided into separate offices and retail spaces.  There's a central "courtyard," and multiple shared spaces.  Thankfully, the main exterior entrance meets ADA standards, but the public restrooms and secondary emergency exit do not.

During the lease negotiations, I acknowledged that modifications necessary for compliance within our leased space were our responsibility: a few doors need to be widened, some build-ins removed to provide room for wheelchairs or walkers, etc.  Anything in the common areas, however, are the building owner's responsibility, and his remaining in violation of the law in that regard was a deal-breaker for us.  The activist in me wanted to be strident and insistent.  Lease negotiations, however, don't work that way.  Not, at least, if you actually want to get the place, get it at a favorable price, and start off a long-term business relationship on an amicable basis.

So, somehow, I mustered up a level of diplomacy which is not characteristic of me in matters about which I am so passionate.  In fact, equality issues are among the biggest of my "biggies."  But, I managed to avoid implying too specifically that I thought the guy was a scoff-law.  He was, of course, but explaining in detail to him the needs of those we were intending to serve and how easy and inexpensive it was to accommodate those needs seemed the better approach.  It worked.  It just as easily could have failed, so, "Phew!"

The point, though, kept coming back to me.  It's been twenty-plus years that the law has been in place, and has been in business continuously during that period, and yet he was not only woefully ignorant of his responsibilities, and resistant to the few details of which he was aware.  Community education efforts had clearly been insufficient, especially given that he was hardly alone in the local business community.  Further, the building inspector who had signed off on the place when it was renovated apparently ignored the ADA altogether, as well.  So, enforcement also failed.

In a perfect society, governmental agencies with jurisdiction over administration and enforcement of the statute should shoulder the full burden of both public education and making sure compliance is the rule rather than the exception.  Rather than hold our breath for that to happen, we need to:  (1) elect public servants who will fully fund education and enforcement (can you spell, "Democrat?"), (2) stay organized so that our voices are heard above the din of the corporate interests who don't want accessibility to eat into their profits, and (3) arm ourselves with information which we can share whenever we see ADA non-compliance.

Here's a couple of places online you might want to check out in regard to all three:

ADA Network - Community education site specific to the ADA, including fact sheets which can be downloaded and printed as hand-outs or presentation exhibits.

EEOC Fact Sheet - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's info for employers regarding ADA compliance.

U.S. Access Board - Federal agency website with tons of info on all accessibility laws, not just the ADA.

And, once again, I'm going to shamelessly promote my number one go-to source for disability activism, including the ADA:

American Association of People with Disabilities - I've been at this a long time, but I never fail to learn something from a visit to their website, or from reading their newsletters and bulletins.  I get every nickel out of my membership contribution, and then some.

Now, I'd really like to hear about your thoughts on the ADA, experiences you may have had relating to it, and any resources you have found that assist you in ADA-related issues, or disability activism in general.

Poll

What impact has the ADA had on your life?

3%1 votes
37%12 votes
34%11 votes
25%8 votes

| 32 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
    h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

    by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:03:07 PM PDT

  •  one impact of ADA on deaf people (8+ / 0-)

    well, at least me, was requiring gov. agencies and places that receive gov. funding to provide interpreters when requested.

    Years ago, I worked for a county school board as support personnel, and they knew to always provide an interpreter whenever there was a meeting.  

    It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

    by raina on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:11:25 PM PDT

    •  I think I haven't experienced the full (4+ / 0-)

      impact of it.

      "...annoyingly ethical,"

      by chicating on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:15:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not, if I may ask? (n/t) (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raina, second alto, Larsstephens

        Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
        h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

        by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:18:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Access to public events is easier (6+ / 0-)

          but the few job interviews I've ever been on might as well have been pantomimes for the real shot I had.
          I left a diary in the group queue...maybe I was supposed to tell you that before today?
          Feel free to use it for another slot(Or not)
          I, personally, think that the employment provisions are more designed for injured workers that get back in than say, kids out of school like me in the late nineties...

          "...annoyingly ethical,"

          by chicating on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:24:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bless you for the diary. It really helps... (5+ / 0-)

            to have unscheduled ones available for a "pinch."  And I'm so rattled right now, if you'd told me, I might have forgotten anyway.

            As for the employment-equality issue, it's a tough nut to crack.  Sometimes enlisting an experienced advocate (like, perhaps, through your local Center for Independent Living, or other disability-related agencies in your area) can really help.

            Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
            h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

            by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:29:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's hard...discrimination plays a part (5+ / 0-)

              sexism as well as ableism. But I also have to admit that, experience-wise I've missed out on some important skills.Or, at least, it's a possibility.
              It has left me time to be open to creating my own opportunities, as a writer, though.

              "...annoyingly ethical,"

              by chicating on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:39:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Discrimination is so hard to prove... (4+ / 0-)

                but I've found from doing advocacy work myself, it's really helpful to get feedback from applicants on turn-downs, so that eventually we can collect enough to document a pattern with regard to a specific employer.  It might not help you right away, but could very well help someone else down the line.

                And, you might want to check out your local Independent Living Center (if there is one), since they often have training programs available to help fill-in some of the experience gaps.

                Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
                h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

                by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:45:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  FloridaSNDad has encountered this as well (4+ / 0-)

                  They see the wheelchair and are already thinking of reasons not to hire so they don't have to make accommodations. Usually with him it's 'lack of experience' because he couldn't exactly flip burgers at McDonalds in high school, his resume is understandably thin. It's mostly volunteer positions, like his year at Americorp, or short term employment at a call center.

                  At this point he's been told not even to try for work by his Doctor because his asthma is too bad and he has too many environmental triggers (cleaning chemicals, perfumes, and hair spray for example). But before our daughter was born and when our son was in public school he was looking with no success.

                  "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:57:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  that's true (6+ / 0-)

              many communities with a significant deaf population had Deaf Service Centers, or similar, and interpreters were provided through them.

              Nowadays, there's video interpreting services, or video relay where a deaf person can get an interpreter just about anywhere with special video telephone equipment.

              Another impact of ADA was seeing TDDs- telecommunication devices for the deaf, which are a telephone/typewriter hybrids at places like airports. I still see them there, but most deaf people use text messaging now.

              It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

              by raina on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:44:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My mother's audiologist is deaf. (6+ / 0-)

                He has his Ph.D. from Gallaudet (where I spent two summer sessions as part of my M.A. program).  I was very pleased to see inroads being made in such professions.  He uses video relay extensively, of course, and I use video conferencing or texting to communicate with him.  I definitely don't miss my old TDD, which hasn't even been unpacked since my last move.

                Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
                h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

                by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:51:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  me neither (3+ / 0-)

                  my first TTY was that gigantic behemoth of a teletypewriter (hence TTY instead of TDD), like the ones newspapers used, and it was so noisy, I was told.

                  I still have the relatively modern TDD in my closet. Don't have a landline anymore. I go online and use IP Relay when I need to make a call.

                  It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

                  by raina on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:58:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I remember the old honker TTY's. (4+ / 0-)

                    My first TDD had the accoustic coupler cups... didn't work with a lot of handsets that didn't quite fit right, and didn't save text, so I always had to keep the "adding machine tape" print function running.

                    I'm in a much smaller community now, so I don't have as many deaf contacts as before.  I'm quite sure I'm becoming out-of-touch with changes in the deaf culture.

                    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
                    h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

                    by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:11:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  oh I'm a Gallaudet alumna by the way (3+ / 0-)

                      didn't graduate tho

                      It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

                      by raina on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:15:48 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I was one of those hearing people... (4+ / 0-)

                        you full-time students had to put up with on your campus while we attended special programs.  [wink]

                        I've done coursework at a number of colleges and universities, and none was more rigorous than the Physics of Sound at Gallaudet.  I worked my butt off just to pass it!

                        Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
                        h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

                        by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:19:40 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  We almost always use text to communicate (4+ / 0-)

                      With our deaf helpers.  One problem for them is ASL is a 2nd or 3rd language for them, coming from (I believe,) Central America.  The interpreters have trouble reading such non-standard sign, where in person you can muddle on.  One of our helpers was from Hong Kong, but he was very multilingual, knowing sign from a number of countries.
                      Also, when you see them on the street, texting away, they look the same as any teenager, so a really good thing IMHO.

                      •  my ex married a woman from Hong Kong (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        FloridaSNMOM, jgilhousen

                        Last winter a friend of hers from HK was visiting, and they all came to my folks' for Christmas dinner. One time I watched the 2 HK women signing to each other in Chinese, and though it was very different from ASL, I could get the gist of what they were saying.

                        And to your point, yes you're right, English is not a native language for most deaf people.

                        It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

                        by raina on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 05:42:45 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, jgilhousen, raina

            I have a pretty good resume, and awesome references. When I was temping in Hawaii, the same places asked for me back again and again. I mean, 10+ times, for some of them. I didn't have to wait for jobs, I called and was slotted in, because my rep was good, even with the disabilities.

            Here, I go to an interview with Pùka, and it lasts a few minutes. I've made it through the prelims, they know my rep. Small service dog=no go, even for straight data entry.

            At least, I can't think of anything else it could be, since every. damn. question. revolves around him. ><;

            Frankly, I've given up. At this point, I'd only be able to work part-time with the car situation, anyway. And I'm only getting worse. /sigh

            Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

            by LoreleiHI on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 06:05:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Have you heard back (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jgilhousen, second alto

              from your doctors on anything yet? I don't remember when you said your test was, I'm not having the best day myself today unfortunately.
              Assistance dogs however can be another barrier to employment, and they shouldn't be. It's illegal for them to be. But that doesn't stop it. Much more enforcement is needed.

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:25:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My appointment is one week from today (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jgilhousen, FloridaSNMOM, second alto

                They had me signed up on the cancellation list, but it looks like there were none! I would have jumped on any chance, although I've been pretty wretchedly sick with a cold the past two weeks. It's settled in my chest now, though (which means I'm not contagious, just miserable, lol).

                And yes. There are so many looking for work that they just say that they found someone more qualified. Since I don't have a college degree, that's pretty damned easy, isn't it? And now with my hands and feet feeling like they have tinnitus, I don't always have the speed and accuracy typing I used to have. :( It sucks, I tell you.

                I hope that you start feeling better. And that the Little Bit is doing well on her crochet! :)

                Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

                by LoreleiHI on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:22:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  She's doing well (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LoreleiHI, second alto, jgilhousen

                  she has made a scrunchie and we've made a barbie afghan.  right now I cant help her as much my right arm is in a sling thanks to a pinched nerve.  I'm glad your test is soon. keep us up to date please.

                  "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 10:02:22 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  And requiring most private entities... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raina, FloridaSNMOM, second alto

      serving the public to do so on their dime, too, and certainly agencies which receive federal funds of any kind.

      Did you need interpreter services prior to 1990, and if so, were you able to get them provided adequately?

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
      h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:17:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  prior to 1990 (4+ / 0-)

        well hard for me to remember pre-ADA now, but I do remember some church members who knew sign were happy to interpret. In most cases, they were not skilled interpreters, but back then, it was better than nothing for most people.

        It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.

        by raina on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:46:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Volunteers still have their place... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          second alto, FloridaSNMOM, raina

          but certainly are no substitute for certified interpreters.  My ASL skills have deteriorated from lack of opportunity to use them with sufficient frequency.  I don't interpret at all any more.  I do sign in social settings, but in my work, I limit it to casual conversation while we await arrival of a pro.

          Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
          h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

          by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:16:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It is hard to keep fluent with little practice. (4+ / 0-)

            There is a deaf church in San Francisco we used to go occasionally, but while the sermon was in ASL, the community room talk was in a variant of signed English, and we didn't always follow that as well.  I'll admit our ASL isn't that good, as our kid never required that high a level of proficiency.

            •  I can still make casual conversation... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              raina

              albeit more slowly than I would wish, but when it comes to professional situations, where the client depends on complete and accurate communication, I definitely say, "let's wait for the interpreter."

              It stings a bit, since I used to be the interpreter, but that was many years ago.

              Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
              h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

              by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 05:24:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  exactly! (6+ / 0-)

      Also it means that people have to accomodate my inability to hear. I used this on the TSA when they were obnoxiously hassling me over something that my husband had packed. Yet they pulled me out of line and away from my kids.

      I could not hear what they wanted, so of course they became even more aggressive, at that point I loudly proclaimed that I was hard of hearing and that I could not hear them and that they were legally required under the ADA to use other means to communicate with me. (it's true).

      They dropped the aggressive attitude quickly and apologized to me. still...

      I also have been able to get more equipment to help me hear, people are more aware of signing they don't treat me oddly anymore - or like I'm stupid.

      They also passed laws so that my children would be tested for hearing problems. It turns out that they are fine.
      The ADA has affected my life profoundly.

      In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

      by vcmvo2 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:50:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please look at our KosAbility schedule... (4+ / 0-)

    Not just because we need you to consider signing up to write for us on one of the open slots, but also because I wanted to make sure everyone is aware that Sunday's diary by Nurse Kelley will be an online memorial and celebration of life for C J (ulookarmless).

    Wednesday Diaries

    Oct  17  michelewln
    Oct  24
    Oct  31  ramara
    Nov   7

    Yours truly, Father John-Mark (jgilhousen) is the moderator of KosAbility’s Wednesday diaries and maintains that schedule. If you’d like to sign up for an open Wednesday, reply to this comment, send me a private message or email me at PadreJM[at]excite[dot]com.

    Sunday Diaries

    Oct    7  KelleyRN2
    Oct  14  FloridaSNMOM
    Oct  21
    Oct  28  michelewln

    Nurse Kelley (KelleyRN2) is the moderator of KosAbility’s Sunday diaries and maintains that schedule. If you’d like to sign up for an open Sunday, reply to this comment, send her a private message, or email her at KelleyRN2[at]gmail[dot]com.

    The content of the KosAbility diaries is important to many folk who depend on the exchange of information and ideas about their struggles with real life-changing conditions. The moderators of these diaries will not tolerate rude, disruptive, off topic, and/or threadjacking behavior. If in doubt, read our mission statement in the diary.

    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
    h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

    by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:14:37 PM PDT

  •  Most of my ADA experience (7+ / 0-)

    was secondary, meaning it's my other half who's been in a wheelchair for most of his life. But, that meant that compliance affected me as well. Could I get him into the places we needed to go? Were aisles in stores (convenience stores are especially bad at this) blocked by displays? Were ramps blocked off or cracked and broken beyond use? How far extra did we need to go to access the ramp (some are BEHIND the building you need to get into), and how do you get back to where you need to be once you're inside?

    Once my lungs started getting worse these things affected me on a more first person level. Those long distance ramps behind buildings were no longer just inconveniences, as extra walking distance meant it was harder to breathe. I can take my walker up and down a curb, but I've fallen a few times doing so (and bent the back rest to the point where I took it off and threw it away).  Accessibility on buses has become more of an issue as well, as the walker doesn't fit well back through the aisle, I HAVE to sit in the front 'reserved for the disabled seats', when people will actually get out of them so I can do so.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:28:37 PM PDT

    •  Very well thought-out list. Thank you. (5+ / 0-)

      Do you find compliance to be spotty in your geographic area?

      (I'd have thought that Florida would be in the forefront of enforcement, giving the large number of retirees living there, and their political muscle.)

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
      h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:32:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Spotty compliance (5+ / 0-)

        There are several areas that are huge issues even in Florida, especially outside the tourist areas.
        First off is lack of curb cuts at all, as I said I can hop curbs with my walker, it's harder with the wheelchair.

        Second is the oddly ending sidewalks. For example, the sidewalk from here out to the highway is recently repaired, which is good, it used to tilt towards the drainage ditch and was cracked and crumbling in several places. However, even though there's a pedestrian crossing a major highway at the end of the road, the sidewalk ends 10 feet sort of the road. In between is grass with several over grown holes and water line access covers. The road behind our house is the same way, good sidewalk most of the way down, except for the last 10-20 feet.

        In the trailer park, there are few sidewalks and what sidewalks there are also don't have curb cuts and are too narrow for the wheelchair. The road has speed bumps, which make it hard to push a chair over.

        Also convenience stores, especially drink displays are an issue. I remember one time there was a glass beer bottle sales display at the end of an aisle, it looked wide enough for Dad to get his hoverround through, but was a few inches short. He knocked over nearly the whole thing, beer and glass all over the place. We had to replace a tire over that. The store lost a bunch of inventory. On the bright side, they never let the merchant place something like that on the end again LOL.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:47:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. Sounds like plenty to keep advocates busy... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, Ebby, second alto, raina

          just getting things up to current standards.

          The store-aisle things is so common, universally.  I have to remind a large chain supermarket here every once in a while that it makes no sense for them to provide motorized carts, then clutter up the aisles with displays which make them useless.

          Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
          h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

          by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:59:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We had a friend (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jgilhousen, Ebby, second alto, raina

            who once advised us to just knock things over when they did that. They'll learn better that way LOL.
            We've never knocked things over intentionally but it sure was tempting a few times (and there were a few true accidents like with the beer display).  And of course since Dad is also legally blind, it's sometimes hard for him to judge when things are just wide enough or a few inches too small for him to get through when he's driving himself.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:06:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The Family Medical Leave Act may also help (6+ / 0-)

    disabled people and their caregivers. I am a 24/7 caregiver, and the FMLA has helped me a lot.

    If you are a primary caregiver, you are disabled in the eyes of the federal government.

    If you are employed, you may qualify for accommodations from your employer.

    If you must stay up all night, prepare your loved one's food, drive them to an appointment, or provide many other types of care, you can take time off without advance notice and keep your job.

    You may claim up to 480 hours (12 weeks) of leave per year from your job, and your employer cannot fire or hassle you. These hours can be spread out over the year. You can claim these hours in small amounts, intermittently.

    You would have to apply for an Intermittent Family Medical Leave.

    Quick Overview:
    1.  You must be caring for a family member.  
    2.  The business you work for must have 50 or more employees.
    3.  Your IFML status begins when you request the application form.
    4.  You and a healthcare provider must fill out the application form.
    5.  You have 30 days to submit the form.  

    For more information:
    Family and Medical Leave Act Overview - U.S. Department of Labor website.
    Paid family leave - Wikipedia.

    Ask your supervisor or human resources department for the IFML paperwork. I suggest that you preview the 4-page application form before you actually request it from your employer.

    The Family Medical Leave Act took effect in 1993, during President Clinton's first term (Wikipedia).

    Please ask the caregivers in your life if they know about intermittent family medical leave.

    I think this is important information for caregivers and for the disabled. Since I am a 24/7 caregiver, I cannot write a diary about IFML. Unfortunately I cannot guarantee that I will be able to remain available for comments.



    Michigan Supreme Court: Democrats nominated 3 women
    Before you give your ballot back,
    Vote Johnson, Kelley, and McCormack.

    by 2thanks on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:57:34 PM PDT

  •  This is a case of adequate regulation (6+ / 0-)

    with woefully INadequate enforcement.  Bu$hco sent signals that ADA and other "burdensome" federal regulations could be ignored with impunity --  never mind that universal design makes a lot of sense in a world in which none of us is going to get any younger, ever.  Environmental laws, labor laws, etc. are similarly flouted.

    Ideally the Obama adminstration could turn the heat just a bit, from the national level.  But they've been on the busy side -- and even with a push it takes a long, long time to trickle out to the margins.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:06:26 PM PDT

    •  You're absolutely right... (5+ / 0-)

      although I reserve judgment on whether or not there might yet remain a few improvements which could be made on the ADA.  (Clearer definitions, certainly.)

      But, yes, the biggest problems seem to me to be in the area of compliance, both from inadequate enforcement and ineffective public education.

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
      h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:23:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes! My experience with ADA enforcement (6+ / 0-)

      is that people want to isolate you and make you feel like you are asking for special treatment- like my disabilities are some form of selfishness. I've tried to fight that because I know that the disabled are a class of people, and that disabilities are not unique to me. But it's felt like a very lonely fight. I'm so glad for diaries like this that make me feel less alone!

  •  Thanks for taking this, Padre (6+ / 0-)

    This was a great diary. It is a shame how so many people have been resistant to be compliant. Some of this, I'm afraid, comes from a handful of people who have been opportunistic and serial compliance litigators- suing many businesses for the slightest infraction, which hardens the public toward the real need for common sense compliance. You didn't discuss this, but churches and some non-profits are exempted from many (if not most) of ADA's requirements. You would think they would be among those most compassionate toward the disabled, but I have been disappointed to find that several new churches I've visited chose not to be even remotely accessible.

    I have one small issue with your diary, though... I'm a "he" ☺

    "Mitt Romney isn't a vulture capitalist: vultures only eat things that are dead." -S. Colbert

    by newinfluence on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:09:58 PM PDT

    •  Ooooooops! (major blush time) (4+ / 0-)

      I should never make such assumptions, but some part of me seems to automatically assign gender to ambiguous screen-names.  I'm so sorry.  (I won't promise, though, that I won't forget and make the same mistake again some time... until some wonderful day when we might actually meet in person.)

      Now it's my turn to nit-pick.  I did, in fact, mention the church exemption, but only in passing, so I'm not surprised it went unnoticed.  And I agree with you.  I consider it literally sinful for any Christian organization to opt out of ADA compliance.  We should be doing more than the law requires with regard to accessibility, not less.

      That said, some of the churches and missions I've served were in very old buildings, making retrofitting a major undertaking.  Couple that with being underfunded, and immediate compliance was sometimes an impossibility.  Our only option was to work at it incrementally.

      With new construction, though, there is absolutely no excuse.

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
      h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:30:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and you're very welcome, of course. (4+ / 0-)

      It's stuff I've been thinking a lot about lately anyway, so I just needed to get it from my head to my fingers and keyboard.

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
      h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 03:33:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That is one thing about living in the disability (4+ / 0-)

    Center of the world (Berkeley).  Lots of curb cut outs with textured surfaces so the blind can "feel" them.  Talking walk signals. Lots of ramps, special wheelchair seating in movies and most important lots of visible disabled, so people are exposed.  The law that we used the most when we first had to deal with our sons was IDEA.  Another landmark.
    The one time I can remember ADA assistance was at amusement parks.  Being able to skip lines because it was just not possible for them to wait 45 min to take a ride.

    •  Oh, my. Do I have Berkeley stories!!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      second alto, raina

      But I'll spare you...
      even though I appreciated the inspiration to reminisce about them for a minute.

      (I am, after all, a product of the Sixties.)

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
      h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 04:58:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, the ADA has helped me a lot. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, jgilhousen

    When I was cane-bound, I had disability plates on my car, and my workplace bent over backward making accommodations for me. I never had a problem at LibMut. They had a nurse on site, and the desk would be adjusted, and the chair was fitted to me, I had a backrest provided, a 10 minute break every hour, etc. It was stressful as hell, but oh yes, they wouldn't even let me use the stairs after someone else with a cane took a tumble down.

    A condo tried keep me from getting a service dog. Because of the ADA, and Hawaii law, they got a lovely bullet point letter from the local legal rights office detailing just how many laws they were breaking, and the penalties for each. They backed down very quickly.

    I can bring my service dog with me anywhere, because of the ADA. I can't begin to describe what this means to my life. Without Pùka... but let's not dwell on that.

    ANYWAY. In good news, Sarah had her establishing appointment with our doctor, and he was awesome about her being trans, and is willing to help in any way possible with transition! /happydance  She was so scared to go to the appointment, and now she's excited. She sees hormone therapy as an actual possibility now! Whee!

    Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

    by LoreleiHI on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 06:26:55 PM PDT

    •  Good news, indeed. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LoreleiHI, second alto

      And I'm glad to hear about your experience with Liberty Mutual.  When I lived in Maine, I got the impression that they were atypically progressive for the insurance industry.  I was a little worried several years back when they were contemplating converting from the mutual to a stock structure.  Good thing cooler heads prevailed.

      Hope things are going better for you on all fronts these days.

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas.
      h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 12:01:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, they did end up laying off huge numbers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        second alto, jgilhousen

        And that's when I left and moved to Hawaii. I figured I could save the job of one of the people who had been there forever and a day. We all knew I was on the list, I was the newest hire left after 3 rounds of layoffs. SO not fun. And with an offer to housesit, rent and utility-free for 6 months in Hawaii, where my doctors had been on my ass to move for years... 4 bedroom house, high speed internet, North Shore, the bus stopped literally in front of the house, vs. constant layoff anxiety? No package but good reviews in exchange?

        Right now I'm trying to figure out if I took my 2nd dose of albuteral. Haven't been able to take a full breath in days, took clonazapam to quell the panic attack, it isn't doing anything for the enforced hyperventilating (cold settled in chest, good possibility for bronchitis). Turns out my spare inhaler expired in March this year. Can't pick up new one, Sarah has the car. Need to call drs office ASAP in the AM to get appointment. No full breath for 3 days, can't take it anymore, and I'm getting scared and constant light-headed doesn't help. So scared, even with meds. So hard to not cry. Using expired inhaler because what else can I do until tomorrow. Can't breath. Can't think because can't breath. O2 deprived. Even with clonopin, on the line between full panic attack, and that would be BAD. Can't afford ambulance. Probably need it. Hospital is walking distance, but not when can't breath SITTING. No way out. So scared. No one to talk to. Can't raise Sarah. So so scared. Even crying, and I don't cry. Need more clonopin, but afraid it will make asthma worse, depress system, but panic attack could kill me. No right way to go.

        Need help, but I'm only ever a burden. Maybe better to just stop with the inhaler and panic meds. Less trouble.

        Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

        by LoreleiHI on Thu Oct 04, 2012 at 05:30:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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