Thursday, August 6, 2015

After the ADA: Poverty for people with disabilities still a problem

There is no question after 25 years, that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has helped people with disabilities have better access to employment and education. 
ADA logo

However, poverty is still linked with disability in America. From bureaucratic barriers to transportation barriers to social barriers, obtaining employment and maintaining a base of financial savings for people with a disability is difficult to say the least.

Former football player Emeka Nnaka of Oklahoma tells NPR (full story below) that before he had an adapted van, he used to spend three hours a day in transit to get to work.

There is an estimated employment rate in Utah for adults aged 21 to 64 with a disability of 42.2 percent. This is in contrast to 77.5 percent among people without a disability in Utah.

There are multiple ways to combat unemployment for people with disabilities, and one of them is providing access to adaptive technology like Nnaka's van. Accessibility to transportation, communication devices, computers and more, break down many barriers and increase independence of people with disabilities. 

The Utah Assistive Technology Foundation helps people with disabilities get the technology they need with a loan and grant program. So far this year, UATF has provided 62 grants to Utahans with disabilities to purchases devices ranging from hearing aids to iPads. 

UATF is working to increase funds available for these grants, and contributions can be made to the fundraising campaign through Razoo. All donations support the UATF grant program, helping make Utahans with disabilities independent. 

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