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Disability Rights A HISTORY Importance of the federal response to disabled veterans Department of War Veterans Administration Smith-Fess Vocational Rehabilitation Act Following each of the major wars of the 20th century,Congress responded to the needs of returning veterans with rehabilitation legislation But in 1920 Congress passed the Civilian Vocational Rehabilitation Act . Smith-Fess It established a civilian vocational rehabilitation program under the Federal Board for Vocational Education to be funded on a 50-50 matching basis with the states. The funding could be used for vocational guidance, training, occupational adjustment services, and job placement. The Precursor to Smith-Fess: The Rehab Act of 1918-A Turning Point After the war, U.S. towns and cities suddenly had lots of physically disabled veterans wandering around without jobs. Americans rejected the European approach - building large institutions where the veterans and their families could live for free. Instead, Congress passed legislation to get them back to work and passed the Soldiers Rehabilitation Act of 1918. Benefits of Government intervention In World War I, only about 2 percent of veterans with spinal-cord injuries survived more than a year, but three decades later during World War II, the discovery of antibiotics and more sophisticated medical interventions brought the survival rate up to 85 percent Benefits(Cont.): The Rehabilitation Act of 1943 In 1943, people with mental retardation were included in the legislation, making vocational training available to them for the first time. Rehab act of 43 It also changed the type of services the government provided for vocational rehabilitation. In addition to training and guidance, VR started paying for certain types of treatments to correct disabilities(cataracts, orthopedic services, rehab therapy, hearing aids). Post WWII the end of World War II changed VR when it flooded the nation with wounded veterans. More progress in medicine meant not only that more people survived the war, but also they survived with greater variety of disabilities. Post WWII In addition to veterans with loss of limbs, vision or hearing, there were now people in wheelchairs, people with head injuries, people with epilepsy, and people with seizure disorders. Rehab Act of 54 Professionalization: the Rehabilitation Act of 1954 started federal funding of research on vocational rehabilitation and funding of advanced college training programs in rehabilitation counseling. Rehab Act of 54 Rehabilitation counselors became trained professionals, and research offices sprang up. This eventually led to the creation of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education. From Benefits to Accessibility none of this legislation, however included any consideration of building accessibility. The entire focus was on the clinical impairments of people with disabilities and their management 1st Efforts to address issues of “reasonable accommodation” in building design: 1958 conference sponsored by the President's Commission on Employment of the Handicapped, the National Easter Seal Society, and the American National Standards Institute Outcomes of 1958 conference With a grant from the Easter Seal Foundation, the ideas generated at the 1958 conference were developed by Timothy Nugent at the Rehabilitation Center at the University of Illinois. Oversight was provided by a committee of representatives from government, advocacy, health, trade, and professional associations. Outcomes of 1958 conference the standards that were developed by the 1958 conference, Nugent and the oversight entities described the minimal features required to remove the major barriers that prevent many persons from using buildings and facilities and became the first scientifically developed design guideline on accessibility in the world. Smith-Fess is Amended In 1965 the Smith-Fess Rehabilitation Act was amended to address physical barriers to access in federal buildings. 65 Amendment to Smith-Fess The National Commission on Architectural Barriers was established and three years later issued a report titled "Design for All Americans", addressed the remarkable lack of awareness of American businesses, public officials, and design and construction professionals to the existence of barriers to access. Architectural Barriers Act (68) After additional study of the issue of physical accommodation in buildings by the government, the Architectural Barriers Act was passed by Congress Architectural Barriers Act The Act mandated that buildings designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds would comply with standards for accessibility. Architectural Barriers Act It established three federal agencies that would set standards—1. the General Services Administration, 2. the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 3. the Department of Defense. The Act required two majors amendments (1970 and 1976) before it started to have a significant effect on the accessibility of public buildings. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 The ‘disability rights movement’ has its roots in the civil rights movement of the 1960's. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, focused on the elimination of racial discrimination and set the stage for a number of minority groups to broaden its coverage and use its mandate to demand equality. Civil Rights: Rehab Act of 73 The disability rights movement began to be a force and have its agendas recognized in legislation during the 1970's, starting with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Disability Rights/Activism Prior to the 1970’s there had been significant efforts by people with disabilities to advocate for change: Example 1(organizations): the League of the Physically Handicapped Wednesday, May 29, 1935, six young adults— three women and three men—entered New York City's Emergency Relief Bureau (ERB), demanding to see the Director. Told he would be unavailable until the next week, they declared they would sit there until he met with them or, one vowed, until "hell freezes over.“ The next day a large crowd backed the demonstrators and demanded jobs for themselves. Organizations (cont) Disabled Women's Coalition founded at UC Berkeley by Susan Sygall and Deborah Kaplan. The coalition ran support groups, held disabled women's retreats, wrote for feminist publications, and lectured on women and disability. Organizations (cont) Black Deaf Advocates: oldest and largest consumer organization of deaf and hard of hearing black deaf people in the United States (1982). #2: Independent Living Movement Ed Roberts and his peers at Cowell (UC Berkeley Health Center) formed a group called the Rolling Quads. The Rolling Quads form the Disabled Students' Program on the U.C. Berkeley campus. Independent living movement Ed Roberts and his associates establish a Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Berkeley, CA for the community at large. The center was originally in a roach- infested two-bedroom apartment until the Rehabilitation Administration gave them a $50,000 grant in 1972. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 504: the outgrowth of organization, ideology and activism The importance of the Rehabilitation Act comes from the fact that its language, especially Section 504, echoes Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Signed into law by Richard Nixon, the law was an important step for people with disabilities………. Rehabilitation Act of 73 Section 504 was the first statutory definition of discrimination towards people with disabilities. Although it did not have the scope of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and only outlawed discrimination by those entities that received federal funds, it was a crucial factor in shifting disability issues to a political and civil rights context. Rehabilitation Act of 73 The Act survived 2 presidential vetoes, suggesting that Congress finally understood the social significance of the issues. The Act laid important groundwork for change but did not address implementation; it took four more years for the regulations enforcing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to be issued in 1978. Concepts coming out of the new era of disability rights and legislation 1.program accessibility 2.mainstreaming 3.independent living 1.program accessibility 2.mainstreaming 3.independent living Three important new concepts emerged during the 1970's—program accessibility, mainstreaming, and independent living. While none of them directly addressed the specific technical issues of accessibility, each had implications for the accommodation of people with disabilities by organizations that own and operate buildings. Program Accessibility Section 504 introduced the concept of “program accessibility”, which allowed programs to achieve accessibility by being "viewed in their entirety." This permitted some flexibility for compliance. -For example, a community program could relocate activities to a physically accessible space instead of costly renovations to an existing location. 2. mainstreaming In 1975, Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, mandating free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities. This legislation introduced the concept of mainstreaming, ensuring children with disabilities an education in the least restrictive environment— when possible, the same environment as children without disabilities. 3. Independent living The independent-living concept, first talked about in rehabilitation circles in the 1950's and 1960's as a full menu of services provided by expert professionals to people with disabilities, was redefined by the disability movement as a self- help empowerment movement to liberate people with disabilities from the traditional concept of dependency, especially in their choice of living environments. 1980’s The 1980's were a difficult period for people with disabilities because the prevailing notion that the “best government was no government” threatened to undo hard won rights. The 1980’s In spite of efforts by detractors, the disability movement was successful in opposing attempts to deregulate Section 504 and the Architectural Barriers Act, achieving some bipartisan support and making apparent its potential political power. The groundswell of response from parents had a profound effect on George Bush, who chaired the Commission on Regulatory Relief. 80’s(cont) In 1981, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (ATBCB) first issued its "Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design," the new Reagan appointees on the ATBCB proposed were not enthusiastic. MGRAD: Minimum Guidelines and Requirements for Accessible Design These established the basic underpinnings for the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) issued by four federal agencies: General Services Administration, Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Postal Service. Fair Housing Amendments Act The Fair Housing Amendments Act, the prelude to the Americans with Disabilities Act, expanded the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 to include both people with disabilities and families with children. It expanded the scope of accessible housing from that which received public funds to all new multifamily housing with four or more units, both public and private. For the first time, a person with a disability could reasonably expect to be able to seek accessible housing in the open market. ADA In 1988, the first version of the Americans with Disabilities Act went before Congress, crafted not by radicals in the disability movement, but by Reagan appointees to the National Council on Disability. ADA At this time the disability movement, from the conservative to the radical wing of the movement, was unified in the view that what was needed was not a new and better brand of social welfare system, but a fundamental examination and redefinition of the democratic tradition of equal opportunity and equal rights. ADA in 1990, President George Bush held the largest signing ceremony in history on the south lawn of the White House, an historic moment for all people with disabilities.
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