The Social Situation of Persons with Disabilities

The ADA was enacted in response to profound inequities and injustice for persons with disabilities (National Council on Disability). Americans with disabilities typically are poorer, less educated, less likely to be employed, and less likely to participate in social events than other groups in society. Social attitudes toward persons with disabilities add to their burdens. Persons with disabilities may be ignored, treated with pity or fear, adulated as inspirations for their efforts to overcome their disabilities, or expected to be as normal as possible. Moreover, Americans with disabilities have historically lacked a subculture from which to derive a collective strength, primarily due to the disparity of their disabilities and backgrounds. Disability interest groups, offshoots of civil rights groups, have filled this void in the last several decades (West).

Such prejudice and barriers raise a number of legal issues, most notably discrimination. In employment, in education, and in mobility, society often fails in its efforts to effectively accommodate persons with disabilities.

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