Traveling Through History by James Pickard
Hello Americans and others from around the world, tis I, the one armed bandit burning up the keyboard from deep in the heart of Moscow, Id, gateway to the Idaho panhandle. I know it’s been a while since my last article, but I’ve been busy with other tasks. Yea…I know you understand so I won’t go into details. On top of that I found myself itching my head to find a topic to write about. Any who…I think I have a good one for you.
I’ve been asking myself, how as a society did we arrive at the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) or how it’s so elegantly put “Evolution of a National Disability Policy?” Now grant you, I’ve been working at a Center for Independent Living (CIL) for four years and never thought to ask myself this question until now. So grab your magic carpet…wait…that’s probably too old of a concept…let me see. When I was young it was the magic school bus…as I became a young adult it was a Delorean. Well, no matter your method of travel; buckle up because we are going back to the past…the past…the past.
What I came across is that this road started way back in the early 1900’s with the Medical/Charity Model. In laymen’s terms this model states that a disability needed to be addressed by rehabilitation professionals who attempted a cure so the individual could be reinstated back into the work force. From this we jump to 1916 (see why I told you to grab your magic carpet) with the National Defense Act: which provided injured soldiers the ability to return to civilian life. Then on to 1917 with the Smith-Hughes Act: a vocational education program created for disabled veterans.
Then in 1918 the Smith-Sears Veteran’s Rehabilitation Act that expanded the Vocational Education Act to include World War I veterans. From here we will jump to 1920 where we se the last of Smith by way of the Smith-Fess Act or Civilian Rehabilitation Act. This act included all Americans with a disability. Within the confines of this program the federal government did a 50/50 match with state funds in order that this program could provide primary vocational services.
Now that we found j the point where civilian involvement starts, let’s set the dial on autopilot and watch the years roll by. 1935 Social Security Act, 1936 Randolph-Sheppard Act, 1938 Wagner-O’Day Act, 1961 American National Standards Institute, 1970 Urban Mass Transportation Act, 1971 Javitts-Wagner-O’Day Act, 1973 Rehabilitation Act, 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act, 1988 Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act. The date that we are looking for is now in sight…disengaging autopilot, make sure all seat belts are fastened…we are arriving at 1990, the year the Americans with Disability Act was put into effect. Now you know, as well as I, how society reached the ADA. I would recommend you to take a more in-depth look at the Acts that we so gracefully jumped over, because there is a lot of good information there. This is where I leave you; I trust you can find your own way back to your time period. Thanks for coming!