Graduation Year

Fall 2010

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Frederick R. Lynch


July 26, 2010 marked the twentieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act; the greater implications of comprehensive disability policy are yet to be seen. Nearly twenty percent of Americans have a disability. With such a significant portion of Americans affected, is equal access to employment opportunities, transportation, and communication available? The history of disability in America tells a story of isolation and institutionalization. The civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s opened up an opportunity for America’s most versatile minority group. A survey conducted by the International Center for the Disabled in 1986 showed sixty-six percent of non-institutionalized disabled individuals wished to be employed but did not have access to a job. The ADA attempts to knock down the societal barriers facing these individuals. Two decades later, the efficacy of the ADA is under fire. A series of legal battles during the 1990’s narrowed the scope of ADA regulations. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 attempts to “restore the intent and protections” of the original bill but does it succeed? Disability rights experts and disabled citizens agree: there is much work to be done.