After over two decades of demanding legal rights, disability rights leaders from across the nation attended the White House ceremony for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA ushers in a new era of disability advocacy marked by greater involvement of people with disabilities in the planning of accessible structures, programs and services.
Disability studies programs are established at universities across the country and disability pride and recognizing a distinctive culture of disability within American society.
Despite the monumental advances made by disability rights advocates, the ADA was receiving a severe challenge by the end of the decade. The American judicial system continually limited the ADA’s scope, powers and ability to promote rights and equality.
- The Americans with disabilities Act is signed into law, extending comprehensive civil rights protection to all people with disabilities.
The law is the most sweeping disability rights legislation in history, mandating that local, state and federal buildings, programs and services be accessible, that businesses with more than 15 employees make “reasonable accommodations” for disabled workers and that public accommodations such as restaurants and stores make “reasonable modifications” to ensure access for disabled members of the public.
- Cleveland disability rights advocates are consulted during the gateway project o ensure the new facility is ADA compliant and fully accessible.
- Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act wre infused with the philosophy of independent living.
- LEAP develops its Job Link program to provide employment related services for disabled high school students. The program works to make the transition from school to work as easy as possible. Today, LEAP's School-to-Work Transition program is held at Glenville and James Ford Rhodes High Schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
- Justice for All is organized by Justin Dart as National organization to promote the goals of the ADA – equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.
- The Telecommunications Act of 1996– covering computers, telephones, closed captioning and a host of up-and-coming devices – declares that services and equipment be made accessible.
- In Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W., the Supreme Court ruled that individuals with disabilities must be offered services in the most integrated setting.