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The town meetings provided an insight that may be helpful.
In sathering after gathering, disabled citizens stood ready to
take significant responsibility for ensuring that their basic
rights are met. There was a consistent theme of self-help: what
we ourselves can do to make things better.
We recommend that the technical assistance amendments for
the ADA encourage self-help initiatives. Consuners should be
involved in setting access goals in local communities. Disability
Ambassadors programs might be established to promote person-to
person contact between local consumer representatives and
businesspeople, and to negotiate reasonable accommodations. Self
help micro-grants might be awarded to encourage citizen
involvement in setting goals, working for their implementation,
and monitoring goal attainment. Local implementation scorecards
might be used to make public each community's progress in
implementing the ADA. The national network of over 300
independent living centers could play a role in supporting these
self-help initiatives and negotiating differences in the
successful implementation of the ADA.
We hope that this testimony contributes to your discussion
about this, one of the most important pieces of civil rights
legislation of our times. Maximum involvement by disabled
citizens in the law's implementation can help bring down the
barriers of discrimination. Our collective actions should help
bring us a step closer to the long-awaited dream of full access
Common Concerns of Disabled Americans:
Issues and Options
by Yolanda Suarez de Balcazar, Barbara Bradford, and Stephen B. Fawcett
fmoon raong of 17 percent.
The hallmark value of the disabilities information was obtained when the re.
and satisfaction ratings for all respon-
percent, and relauvely low satisfaction Questionnaires were administered to ratings, an average of 12 percent. all identified ciozens with disabiliocs Consumer Idennfied Dimensions: in the local community or state. Spon.' • Assistive devices, such as wheel. sonng organizations included indepen- chairs. very expensive. Most Jene living centers, scale vocational re. people with disabilities do not have habiliuuon agencies, and consumer enough money to purchase devices. advisory communecs. Average scores • Rencal of assistive devices is almost for importance and sausfaction were nonexistent. It rencal is possible, con. used to identify relaove strengths (i.e.. sumers don't know where to go or get items of high importance and high needed informanon. satisfaction) and possible problems • Medicaid and Medicare do not (i.e.. items of high importance and cover all assisave devices. low satisfaction). Finally, qualiuave Consumer-Generated Altemarives:
Commercial Services: Availability of
• Change legisladoo regarding YOLANDA SUAREZ DE BALCAZAR is Medicaid and Medicare to cover purresearch associak and BARBARA chase and repur of assisuve devices. BRADFORD is training associar a the Research and Training Cerer on Inde.
Commercial Services: Accessibillty ponukene lining. Univerziny of Kansas, The issue of accessibility of businesses. where STEPHEN 8. FAWCETT U re particularly public restrooms. has been search associans and professor in the selected as a problem in three different departner of human developmans. This surveys. Two related arvey items were arrick is adopied from a Research and responded to by 299 consumers. The is Training Center publicarion.
sues were raied with an average impor
Community Support sod
• VR could ofter training in job set. ing skills. • Consumer poups should develop guidelines on whai consortes reasonable accommodanon in the workplace. • Disseminate information about wher to go for job training skills and job-R. lated assistance.
• People with disabilities are unswers of the legal righus. • Most people with disabilities are unwat of what pending legislation a slate and national levels they should suppon or oppose. • Poople with disabilioes need training in forming advocacy organizacions. Consumer-Censrased Alamatives: • Professionals and independent living anters can fosiet local and since leader. ship within the disabled community. • People with disabilities need to inform themselves and arend advocacy meetings at all levels, get on mailing lists for disability groups involved in legislation, and obtain names, addres. ses, and numbers of elected officials. • Disabled consumers should organize locally around idenofied issues and connect with state and national poups. • Training in advocacy skills should be provided.
Employmucot Accommodations, Disiocedures, and Training Five survey icems related to job ac. commodations in the workplace, work disincentives, and quality of job assist ance and training programs were iden. oified by 9.118 consumers as relative problems in six surveys. They received an average importance rating of 83 percent and an average sausfaction racing of 42 percent. Conswner-Idenafied Dimensions: • Many businesses do not provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace. • Wort disincenaves soll exist within the social security system. In addition to loss of economic benefits are losses a roductions in medical benefius. housing subsidies, food stamps, artendant services, etc. • Disabled job hunters lack basic job seeking skills and are unaware of incentives to employers and laws pro hibiting disenmunason. • Blind people have lost dreu tax Credit; other disability groups wer dever cligible. • People with disabilities do not know where to go for job training or assistance in finding a job. Consumer-Gencraved Aliemasives: • Consumer proups need to form a co abition to lobby legislators as federal and state levels for iar credits.
Employweot Disclaiantiloo Two survey items related to job discriminadon were identified by 9.314 consumers as top problems in eight surveys. They received an average impor ance ning of 86 percent and an average sadisfaction raang of 41 percent. Consumer-ieknafied Dimensions: • People mth disabilides we disetumanated against because of the disability • Qualified disabled individuals are not pven the same opportunity as nondisabled people. Consumer-Generased Numanves: • Consumers need to reach disabled job seekers about proper artudes and how to develop a businesslike de. meanor when dealing with a potential employer. Disabled people must sell un employer on their abilities and not rely on sympathy. • Il a specific employer is perceived as insensiuve, invite a representative of that company to speak to a disabil. ity group about employment. • Independent living centers and ad. vocacy groups need to encourage and assise disabled job applicants and em. ployees to enforce laws and reguladons prohibiong discriminadon. • Disabled individuals cu contact the Job Accommodations Network or similas resources for help in locaung jobs and training, markeong themselves to prospecove employers, and obraining reasonable accommodation.
Employmeat Opportunides Two survey items related to employmem opportunities were idenofied by 9,412 consumers as relacive problems in II surveys. They received an averse importance nong of 4 percent and an average subsfaction rong of 40 percent. Consumer Idenaiped Dimensions: • Job opportunides for people wich disabilioes are very limited. • If there is a nondisabled person and • disabled individual applying for a
people to live independendy. • There are se enough support poups available for people with disabilioes end ther families. • Sexuality counseling for people with disabilioes is not available. • Local governments we uncespon. sive to disability issues, especially if solucions cost money. For example, disabled ciozens are discouraged from registering and voong by inaccessible registration sites, polling places, and lack of transportabon. Consumer-Gencrased Alkmanwes: • Encourage community groups to or ganize support groups and events to involve disabled people and their families. • Encourage churches to work with support groups, and include disabled people and theu families in church a. vides. • Use local media to feature stories about including people with disabilioes in community activities. • Ask city councils for help in or. ganizing programs that will encourage independence for disabled people and their families. • Independent living centers should provide training for their staff coun. selors in sexuality counseling or bring in professional counselors for a work. shop and provide materials. • Consumer groups should represent themselves a city council and county cour meetings. become familiar with city budgets, and advocake for funds for access improvements and disability programs. • Consumer groups should encourage and assist disabled citizens to registet to vote. • Use the American Civil Liberies Union to enforce exisang sccess and registration laws. Diesbasty Rights and Advocacy Issues related to involving disabled ciozens is advocacy ecovicies, increasing their browledge about the nighes, and training in well-edvacey were selected in four different arveys. Three alused questions were chosen by 2.430 people with disabilidies. They received an averuge importance rating of 88 percent and
rverage satisfaction raong of 45 per com. Consumer-ldenafied Dimensions:
job, employers prefer to hue the nondisabled person. Consumer. Gencrared Altemarives:
Consumers should educate employ. ers in a credius, casonable xcommodalion, and advantages of huning disabled employees. • Disability poups must keep a coali. con going at the nagonal level to lobby for reducion of work disincengves. • Jod placement people should know which employers routinely hire dis. abled applicants. • L'x publicity to inform the communiry about job needs, interesus. and capacities of disabled people, similar 10 TV spous from Job Service on spe. cific jobs. • Talk wich industnes to design pro prams for poople with disabilioes sing las lo programs designed for immig. ranus
Handicapped farting One survey item related to the issue of enforcement of parking ordinances was ide nufied as a major problem by 8.607 people in 13 surveys. The item received an average importance rating of 83 percent and an average satisfac. tion rating of 41 percent. Consumer Idenned Dimensions: • There are not enough handicapped parking places close to shopping and workplaces. • Many spaces are not wide enough to unload wheelchairs or put down van litus. • Some spaces are not well-marked wich an uprighe sign. • Police do nox aicker violators as when as they should. • Courts are las in enforcing handicapped parking laws. Consumer-Generosed Aliemannes: • Review local scanules: seek scale unformity. Include private as well as public zones. • Ask local mayons to publicize local ordinances. • Consumer groups can conduct pub lic awareness campagne and lener writing campagns to local officials. • Develop rapport wide several police officers to assure de ser enforcement. • Conduct shady session with police courts. and consumer groups to pro moue enforcemeor. • Consumers cao monitor violacions
and use dau to advocate for com-
afford regula, nonemergency medical
Health Care: Adordability