There has been a significant improvement in the socio-economic experiences of people living with disabilities in the last two decades. The government policies on people with disabilities have also improved. Individuals working in decision making bodies have influenced the shift in policies that affect people who have disabilities. People in the decision making bodies have made maneuvers across the policy agenda to influence policies. This has led to changes in policies that disadvantage disable people. The society has adjusted its language to suit the prevailing discourse on disability. There has been a significant change in the social model of disability. Various predominant concepts of disability that have greatly influenced how disabled people receive services include ‘independent living,’ ‘co-production,’ and ‘user involvement.’ These ensure that people who have disabilities live a fulfilling independent life. In the past, people who had disabilities used to rely on family members to perform even simple tasks. However, in the contemporary world, people with disabilities can live independently. This reduces the burden they place or their family members. Disabled people are also involved in the formulation of various policies that target them. Involving them increased the efficiency of the policies. This is due to the fact that disabled people can clearly articulate the challenges they faces. This helps policy makers to make more policies that are effective. In addition, removal of policies that disadvantage disabled people has enabled them to engage in various economic activities. This has increased their input on the economy. They do not simply do not rely on handouts from the government (Sowers & Colby, 2008).
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is the major piece of legislation that led to fundamental changes in how people with disabilities receive services. This piece of legislation has helped in improving the lives of people with disabilities. It has increased the access of disabled consumers to good and services from businesses and state and local governments. It has made people accept the use of service animals within their business premises. It has also led to increased availability of relatively cheap assistive technology for people with various forms of disability. This has increased community participation of people with communication impairment. It has enabled people with mobility impairments have increased access to transportation and government agencies that provide them with various services. Disabled employees also have increased access to accommodation. In addition, they are less likely to be fired by their employers due to disability (Scherer, 2011).
Despite the above factors, many parties do not clearly understand the provisions of ADA. Employment provision is one of the least understood provisions. According to ADA, employers should provide equal opportunities to people with disabilities. In addition, employers should have standards that prohibit against people due to their disability. However, disability should not have adverse effect on the ability of people to perform basic roles in their employment. This ensures that organizations do not jeopardize their operations in order to simply ensure that they provide people with disability equal employment opportunity. Other countries such as the U.K. also have various legislations that prohibit discrimination against people on the basis of their disability. This has helped in improving the welfare of people with disabilities by reducing barriers to work (Sowers & Colby, 2008).
However, the implementation of legislation on disability has not helped in eliminative disability discrimination completely. Failure to enforce legislations that target people with disabilities fully is one of the major factors that have led to the persistence of disability discrimination. Various parties continue to harbor negative attitudes towards people with disabilities. In addition, lack of consistency in how people with disability access various services has hindered the elimination of disability discrimination. This makes it difficult for people with disabilities to access various basic services such as transportation or carry out their daily activities. Despite the fact that it is easy for people with disability to be access accommodation after being hired, they are less likely to be hired. There has been increased resistance towards legislation that target people with disability (Yuen, 2012).
Legislation that target people with disability has helped in ensuring people with disabilities have equal opportunity, can live independently, and are economically self-sufficient. Greater availability of access to communication and transportation, education and workplace accommodation has helped in improving the opportunities available to people with disability. It has improved their ability to pursue their interests like never before. It has also enabled them to seize the available opportunities. Greater access to communication and transportation has increased community participation of people with disability. Greater efforts by organizations and the government to reach people with disability have also increased community participation of people with disability. Legislations have improved the options for independent living available to people with disabilities. However, the change in medical attitudes towards people with disability is slow. This has slowed down the process of ensuring that people with disability are treated like other ‘normal’ people in the society. In addition, despite the above factors, people with disability do not have full economic self-sufficiency. Legislations have improved the quality of life of certain people whereas others are still disenfranchised (Yuen, 2012).
Public transport systems have improved the access of people with disability. Disabled people who use wheelchairs can easily use the public transport systems. However, certain public transport systems are still lagging behind. Public transport systems that do not provide access to people with disability are predominantly in rural areas. This factor reduces the community participation of people with disability. Urban areas have also designed sidewalks that enable people with disability – especially those with wheelchairs – to move easily. Developers have also increased the accessibility of various buildings to people with disability. People with disability may use ramps or take a lift to access the building. This has increased the accessibility of services to people with disability.
Accessibility to services has increased education enrollment of people with disability. This has reduced the education gap between disabilities and people who do not have disabilities. In the contemporary world, people with disabilities are attending post-high school learning institutions in greater numbers than ever before. Education support services to people with disabilities have also increased. Currently, the education support services are available in most post-high school national learning institutions. This has improved the level of education of people with disabilities, which has enabled them to seize more available employment opportunities. Increase in the number of people with disabilities has helped in reducing workplace discrimination on the basis of disability. However, most employers continue to discriminate people who have severe disabilities when hiring new employees. The above factors necessitate increased funding on the issues of people with disabilities. This would ensure that people with disability are ultimately treated like other ‘normal’ people in the society (Sowers & Colby, 2008).
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