Legal Issues

Persons with disabilities daily face challenges beyond their individual disabilities. Social prejudice and physical barriers often pose far greater hindrances. Prejudice takes the form of the myths, stereotypes, and irrational fears that many people in society associate with impaired functioning. Barriers are those environmental factors, both physical and social, that limit the meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities in normal life activities (Herr, Gostin, and Koh). While a corpus of law has been developed in the United States to protect persons with disabilities, the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 112101-12213 [Supp. II 1990]) marks the most important federal antidiscrimination legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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