Monday, July 30, 2007

ADA Updates? Should I Hold My Breath?

I was reading the ADA Restoration Act of 2007 post by Roblog, Jamie Berke, and a couple other places. True, we can use today's technologies and devices to keep in touch with people, but we're still missing things in vocal/spoken communications, especially in some critical places like airports and other loudspeaker-using locations that don't use visual alerts as well. Is there anything out there that can turn the spoken word into the written readable word? Sure, there's plenty of them out there, but some have to be 'trained' to the voice(s) that will use it while others don't need that. Observe the many accents out there that people have and the various ways people will pronounce and/or sign a single sentence.

But what's troubled me is the erosion of the original ADA in the courts. We're quibbling over the legal definition of the words 'disabled' and 'functional' at the expense of those who need and want to have good employment, housing, and other things. Read the background section on this;

http://www.aapd-dc.org/News/legislature/070720aapd.htm

Sometimes I'm wondering if the courts and employers understand that for most of those with hearing losses out there, that hearing and understanding can be two different things. Just because something is heard, if at all, doesn't mean that it will be understood and known, if identified. Just because someone has hearing aids doesn't mean they can use the phone effectively.

Will this finally assist those who have been trying to find a good job despite a good college education? Will it help those on SSI to actually get off and stay off, even with that education? Will a job be guaranteed after college graduation?

Personally, I'm not holding my breath. Congress, employers, and the courts will be making that important first step, the step that will decide the direction of things.

3 comments:

Dianrez said...

"Restoration" as used in the bill wording gave me pause. It is necessary and indicates there was a larger problem.

The situation is that otherwise non-disabled people have been trying to be included in the ADA for problems such as back pain, repetitive stress injury, diabetes/high blood pressure, even emotional problems of short duration. So many cases like these have flooded the courts that decisions in favor of Deaf people experiencing discrimination are rare.

In addition, it is probable that employers are avoiding hiring deaf people due to the extra accommodations required such as interpreters and communicative devices. This cuts down on employment availability.

How this "restoration" is accomplished deserves close examination. It is one thing to pass a law, an entirely different challenge to implement it.

drmzz said...

I agree with u RSGeo-007 & dianrez, it's a mess. Adding more "disabilities" makes it even more complicated and open for more abuse. Looks like to be another bum rush and the wall still stands for us. I don't think anyone gets it for us still. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I have been blogging about the ADA Restoration Act over at reunifygally.wordpress.com, and one of the things I've been doing is trying to maintain an on-going list of blog posts about the ADA Restoration Act (primarily those on or after July 26). I've linked to your post; you can see the full list at http://reunifygally.wordpress.com/on-the-ada-restoration-act-of-2007/

I hope you will consider writing more future blog posts about the ADA Restoration Act. If you do, please come on over to my blog and leave a comment to let me know. I'd like to link to anything more you write on this topic.