Barriers - What To Do Next  

Commission LogoBarriers are obstacles that inhabit, prevent or cause difficulty for equal access to a public or private faculty. The Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, prohibits barriers for persons with disabilities. Here are some sample situations and the laws pertaining to the justification to request the removal of such barriers, thus, creating equal access for all to participate. Access is not a privilege but a right, and equal right.

Although, the number one barrier persons with disabilities confront on a daily basis is one of attitude in which our language affects, access to remove physical barriers is covered by various laws.

  1. You desire to enter a department store and there is not a wheelchair accessible parking space, then you notice there is not a ramp for a person using a wheelchair to enter. Title III of the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that alternations are readily accessible to the maximum extent feasible. An accessible path of travel must be created; the entrance is part of the path of travel. Parking is required not only by federal law, but by state laws and many local ordinances. The size of the parking facility will determine how many “handicap parking spaces” are required.
  2. You are going to a department store at your local outside mall; you have patronized the business for many years. Upon arrival you realize a new soda machine has been placed on the walkway obstructing the right of passage in your wheelchair. Title III of the ADA requires that an accessible path be established.
  3. You are a the grocery store and write a check for your items of purchase, the cashier asks for your driver’s license, however you are blind and offer a state ID, the cashier states store policy requires a valid driver’s license and refuses to accept any other means of identification. This is a violation of the ADA Title III businesses providing “Goods and Services,” a public accommodation may not exclude or segregate individual with disabilities.
  4. An individual with Cerebral Palsy is denied service at a new restaurant and in fact is asked to leave. This is discrimination. Title III mandates a person with a disability can not be excluded from going to certain restaurants.
  5. A person with Down’s syndrome is only allowed to sit in a particular location at the movie theatre. According to Title III, a place of business can not be restricted to seat individual in a particular location at the place business, such as a movie theatre.
  6. The local airport has just been renovated and installed several public pay telephones. You are a person who is deaf and attempt to use the phone. However, a telecommunication devise (TDD) has not been provided. ADA, Title IV requires one TDD to be provided inside any building that has four or more public pay telephones, this is counting both interior and exterior phones.
  7. You move into an apartment that is not wheelchair accessible and require modifications be done. You need bathroom handrails and removal of the kitchen cabinet under the sink. When you request to make the modification at your expense the landlord refuses for alterations to be made to the apartment. This attitude and behavior is in direct violation of the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) which allows for the tenant to make such modification as long as the tenant returns the facility to its originality upon departure.

“An effective advocate is someone who is competent, uses good communication skills and protocol, knows who to talk to and how to talk to them.”