“You have to think about how non-disabled people use your entire facility and program and try to make sure that entire facility and program is accessible to people with disabilities.”
Attorney Amy Robertson, co-founded the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center in Denver. Many of the clients that she represents are people with disabilities and she has recently represented several deaf clients in cases where registered sign language translators were not available in medical settings. Robertson says hospitals and medical professionals need to understand the crucial need for effective communication with deaf patients. She says some technology is being used in emergency medical situations, where a remote sign language interpreter communicates with a patient via video screen, but Robertson says that technology is being overused.
CREEC also has a case pending against a couple of major universities for not providing captioning for deaf students in online content.
Robertson’s husband is also a civil rights attorney and co-founder of CREEC. He is in a wheelchair so he and Robertson have seen first hand the benefits of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “It’s wonderful 25 years on to be able to do things like go out to dinner and most of the time travel, things that you had to pre-plan intensively 25 years ago.” Robertson says that gaps in disability access still remain.
One of the areas that Robertson says has been overlooked in compliance with the ADA is hotel transportation. Shuttle buses from airports to hotels are rarely wheelchair accessible which is a violation of the ADA.
July 26th, marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.