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making changes.

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

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Common Concerns of Disabled Americans:

Issues and Options

by Yolanda Suarez de Balcazar, Barbara Bradford, and Stephen B. Fawcett

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fmoon raong of 17 percent.
Consumer Idennhied Dimensions:
• In many business and restaurants,
the restrooms are inaccessible.
• The resudom doors are too hard 10
push, and the stalls are too nastow.
Consumer-Generased Alkmarrves:
• Make a list of xcessible and R.
sponsive businesses.
• Survey businesses and provide reed.
back and suggespons.
• Write leners to local businesses
about upgrading facilides.
• Consumers should keep informed
about and review access plans and per.
mits for new construction in the com-

The hallmark value of the disabilities information was obtained when the re.
nghts and independent living move. sulis of each survey were discussed in
menis is the assurance of equal access town meetings. Disabled citizens dis.
10 all activities society offers. Doch cussed major issues. identifying spe.
work and leisure-related. Over 30 mul. cilic dimensions of issues and generat.
lion people with disabilities xcepe reo ing possible soluoons.
sponsibility for their work, lamily, and
individual lives. Their substantial con. MAJOR PROBLEMS IDENTITED
obution to society can be aron buted BY DISABLED AMERICANS
both to personal competence and to the This section provides a summary of 18
strengths of those communities that issues identified as major problems,
foster and support anempes to live in. which are organized alphabetically by
dependently However, there are still category headings. Under each calega
many physical and social barners the ry. problematic aspects are noted as
limit adequate jobs, housing, accessie well as the focal number of participants
ble transportation, and ocher needed who responded to surveys in which
services. These community problems that issue was chosen as a top prob
thwart even the most heroic personal lem. The overall average importance
anempts to pursue a full life.

and satisfaction ratings for all respon-
. . This aracle oudines the major proba dents are also presented.
kems in communibes the limut inde.
pendence. It also provides allemadres Assistive Devices: . Mordability
for xron from the perspecove of and Arailability
people with disabilides. li summarizes The issue of assistive devices (e.g.
quangcaove data from nearly 13.000; wheelchairs) i tolves aspecus such as
people with disabilities in 319 coma? affordability, avalability of financial
munjoies in 10 stales and provides qual.! assistance, cost of services and repair.
icative information about the issues and cost of rencal, and price. Sis related
opcions they identified during local town survey items were chosen by consum.
meetings and public forums. This com ers and responded to by 6.355 people
pendium presents common concems of with disabilities in 6 different surveys.
people with disabilioes and their in- The issues received consistenty high
sighes into whai acoons would help as. importance raongs, an average of 80
sure equality of opportunity.

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
A second issue related to commercial
services and idenufied as a problem is
the availability of special rales for dis-
abled consumers. This issue
selected in one survey involving 1.185
respondents, wich an importance ranng
of 82 percent and a satisfaction rating
of 35 percent
Consumer Idennfied Dimensions:
• Disabled people do not get the same
discounts and shopping privileges as
senior citizens. Most disabled people
are on a very low fixed income.
Consumer. Generated Alternantes:
• Independent living centers can sell
discount cards to consumers for use
with participating merchants, as was
done by Westside CIL in Los Angeles.
• Have a group of disabled people dis-
cuss a proposal with local merchants.

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• 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
cance of 87 percent and an average satis

Community Support sod
This category includes issues related to
family, community and goverment
support in mecang the needs of per
sons with disabilities. Five somewhat
related items were chosen by 1.914
consumers in sis surveys. They reo
ceived consistendy high importance
ratings, with an average of $6 percent,
and relatively low saosfædoo rangs.
with an average of 46 percek
Consumer.idnnfied Dinensions:
• Families and communides do not
encourage disabled members to be in
• The community does not provide
opportunities or assistance for disabled


• 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-
• Consumen can discuss partung
problems with merchanus where they
• Consumer groups can disonbuce
stickers to violators.
• Consumers can acend city council
meetings and Voke concerns to get
adequate legislation.
• Consumers can advise businesses
about adequate spaces and uprighe
• Consumer groups can patronize
businesses who provide and enforce
handicapped spaces.
• Publicize how to get pasting IDs.
• Increase fines to over 525 to put
leech into the law.
• Form coalitions among groups need.
ing access and parking.
• Provide consumer consultation in
design of spaces.
• Pue parting places on end of row for
van lihs. In Anderson. N. violators
get a "candid camera reatment. In a
cooperative effort berween local con.
sumers and the town's newspaper, a
photo and brief statement by violators
appeared on the front page of the local
• Some police departments have de.
putized local disabled consumers 10
ticker handicapped parking violators.
paying theu salanes from fines.

afford regula, nonemergency medical
care and medications.
• Transportation to medical appoint.
menis is difficult. especially regular
long distance transportation, and trans.
portation for rural ciozens who go to
large cities for dialysis or cancer treat-
• Medical professionals we oken in-
sensitive in dealing with disabled pa-
tienus. prefemng to deal with family
members rather than communicate di-
rectly with the disabled pouent as a r.
sponsible adult.
• Medical professionals are often una-
ware of special medical or physical as
sistance needs imposed by a disability
Thus, discomfort and temporary ste
backs can result or even life-threaten.
ing situations.
• The general public is unaware that
existing programs do not provide
adequate medical care for people with
• Disabled consumers are ohen una-
ware of medical aspects of their own
disabilities or good self-care habis.
This occurs because they accept the
public's definition of themselves as
sick and needing to be cared for rather
than healthy human beings responsible
for their own well-being.
• Another problem is anendant care.
Uno state anendant ca: program is
available (Wyoming has no Medicand
waser or state-funded programı. there
is no paid arendant care for low-in.
come disabled consumers. They must
depend on family and friends or live in
nursing homes.
Consumer Generated Alkemanives:
• L'xe local media to describe hewch
problems of people with disabilides
and solicit suggespons to solve these
• Organize local volunteers. church.
and civic groups for medical transpor-
• Consumer groups should educate
medical professionals about the special
needs of disabled panents. The Assoc.
adon for Rewarded Ciozens does this
for people with developmental dis.
• Invite medical professionals 10
speak to mecongs of consumers to in-
crease their own sensiavity and edu.
cate consumers at the same time.
• Provide inservice training for medi.

Health Care: Adordability
nad Arailability
Six survey items were selected re.
levant to the availabiliry and afforda.
biliry of health care, including whecher
hospicals xcepe Medicaid and Medi-
care, regulations for Medicud and
Medicae. and sensitivity of health
care providers to consumers. llems
were identified as relaove problems by
3.485 consumers in seven surveys.
They received an average importance
rating of 88 percent and an average
savstacoon rong of 48 percent.
Consumer-idnaped Dimensions:
• Increasing numbers of doctors are
refusing to take Medicaud or Medicare,
because payment is very lace and is
• There is no respice care for families
caring for disabled and elderly faraily
• People with disabilities ofen cannor


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