“Qaphela Dlamini, educator, wheelchair basketball player and disability rights advocate from South Africa.” globalsportsmentingprogram/flickr, CC BY-ND
by Sarah Hillyar and Carolyn Spellings
“When the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990, it became illegal to restrict access – to employment, education or federally funded institutions – based on disability. The ADA made it easier for wheelchair users, senior citizens or a disabled child to navigate public spaces and to have equal access to learning.
“Many Americans who are not disabled benefit from the ADA. Building ramps, curb cuts, wider halls and audio instructions at crosswalks were a result of this law. The ADA made it easier for a parent to push a stroller down the sidewalk, to cross the street guided by aural prompts or for students with dyslexia to learn and excel in school.
“December 3 is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. While ADA protects the rights of Americans with disabilities, what protections exist around the globe? Are there policies that protect a child in Ethiopia born with hearing loss? Or the Venezuelan woman who lost the use of her legs in an automobile accident? What about a teenager in Senegal born with Down syndrome?
“The University of Tennessee Center for Sport, Peace, and Society has created the Global Disability Rights Map, an interactive map that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities throughout the world. The map can also serve to … “