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ADA 20th Birthday Marked in ND

July 23, 2010

BISMARCK, N.D. - This Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is credited for helping North Dakotans with disabilities have equal access to buildings and jobs.

Russell Cuask, director of the North Dakota Division of Vocational Education, says the Act significantly increased the quality of living for millions.

"I think the access to employment is really huge. I think also the access to telecommunication, and especially telecommunication for people with hearing impairment."

Transportation remains an area with hurdles for those with disabilities, says Cuask. Ten million American drivers have some sort of disability, and he says barriers are encountered by those who need help with tasks such as filling up the gas tank. At the same time, he says new technologies are helping many in other consumer categories.

"That is where ADA has really helped individuals get out into the community and to shop and do commerce, but also be on the other side of that desk and be working in those same businesses."

ADA was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990, to "establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability." It was signed into law July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND