Categories: Community Life
By Marian Vessels, Director, the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center
Eating out. We Americans love to eat out! We enjoy having someone else cook for us, exploring different cuisines, sharing a congenial meal with family and friends or enjoying the ease of a quick meal. It seems that even the smallest of towns has a café, coffee shop or restaurant where folks go to eat, but often more importantly, socialize.
Travel. Americans also are known to travel for work, pleasure or family events. We enjoy seeing new sights, experiencing adventures, traveling for business or to celebrate, mourn or connect with family and friends. These activities often require one or more nights in a rented room. Staying in a hotel, motel or other lodging is a staple for many of those who travel.
Over the last quarter century, diners and travelers with disabilities have benefited from substantial improvements in their ability to enjoy these venues since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law and continues to be woven into the fabric of American life.
READ MORE ABOUT Hospitality, Accessibility and the ADA
By Guest Blogger Amy Scherer, Staff Attorney, National Disability Rights Network
There have been several important advancements that have enhanced the lives of people with a variety of disabilities and facilitated their further inclusion into society; including greater availability of wheelchair accessible housing, acceptance of service animals in public places and use of assistive technology allowing more independent access to public transportation.
In spite of this, one central area where people with disabilities continue to be left out in the cold involves employment. Unfortunately, the philosophy that some people are simply “too disabled” to be employed is still commonly believed. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.4 percent of people with disabilities are currently unemployed. The impact of this number is even more striking when compared to the 7.9 percent unemployment rate of people without disabilities. Similarly, based on 2013 data, only 20.3 percent of people with disabilities participate in the labor force as opposed to 68.9 percent of people without disabilities – a stunning 48.6 percent gap. This disparity is unacceptable.
Further complicating the situation is a particular section of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – known as 14(c) – that actually makes it legal to pay people with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage. In addition to receiving lower pay rates, people with disabilities are often placed in segregated environments where, except for aids or supervisors, they only interact with other people with disabilities.
READ MORE ABOUT WIOA Helps Individuals with Disabilities Pursue and Obtain Well-Paying Employment Opportunities
By Guest Blogger Wayne Connell, Founder and President, Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA)
A diabetic, a blind man and an amputee walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this – some kind of joke?”
Having a disability is no joke according to IDA Advisory Board Member and Neurohumorist expert, Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN. “But it can be a laughing matter. Pain, suffering, isolation, stress, depression, financial hardships – the problems can seem never ending. And to survive you need all the possible tools in your tool belt that you can find. One tool that is frequently overlooked is humor.”
“Science is affirming what we’ve suspected all along – laughter is good medicine. The benefits for you are so numerous that you are not going to want to wait for humor to happen by chance. You’ll want to be proactive and experience humor by choice. And the good news is, you don’t have to be funny. You just have to see funny,” says Karyn. “My mission is to improve global health and business through laughter and help heal the humor impaired.”
READ MORE ABOUT It’s Not a Laughing Matter