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Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990



Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.47

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    complaint-driven, deep-seated, inaccessible, non-veterans, readjust, violation, prior, lawsuit, framers, oppressive, chairman, sentiment, minority, comprehensive, tremendous, telecommunication
     content words:    After World War, Franklin D., Social Security, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Harold Russell, World War II, George Solas, Rhode Island, Judi Chamberlin


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Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
By Phyllis Naegeli
  

1     America is called the "Land of Opportunity." The Statue of Liberty invites many to our country with the words:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

 
2     For many groups of people, the battle for liberty, civil rights, and equal access has been hard fought. This includes people with disabilities. After World War I, many soldiers returned from battle with permanent disabilities. Prior to this war, the government granted a pension to veterans with disabilities. However, the help they needed to readjust to life with a disability was missing. The government stepped in to help. Veterans with disabilities were given the opportunity to learn skills needed to find work and regain their daily activities. However, non-veterans with disabilities were still without assistance until 1935. Under the direction of Franklin D. Roosevelt (who himself had disabilities caused by polio), the Social Security program was formed. This program included payments to people with permanent disabilities to assist them in living. After centuries of being thought of as "burdens to society," public sentiment towards people with disabilites began to change.
 
3     However, change is difficult. The barriers in society for people with disabilities to overcome were tremendous. Not only were there deep-seated fears and misunderstandings in the minds of people, there were physical barriers that needed to be changed. People who used wheelchairs could not gain access to many public buildings. Phones, water fountains, and even fire alarms were inaccessible to those who used wheelchairs. People who couldn't see or hear were unable to receive many types of information. Many changes were needed.

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