GOVERNMENT - or - how do laws get enforced?
In the United States, achieving full equality
under the law is still an ongoing struggle. People with disabilities
have often been legally marginalized and sometimes legally excluded.
Problems with access to public places, employment and sometimes even
marriage were legal barriers. In the Government
Module we trace the interaction between government and the rights
of people with disabilities, and historical and policy information is
addressed through the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. (see Lesson
Myths about the Americans with Disabilities Act
of Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act
SOME NOTABLE PEOPLE
James Langevin, Congressman
of the ADA
BEFORE USING THE GOVERNMENT MODULE
- Have the students discuss: "What impact does disability have
on a society?" Focus the discussion on issues related to public
access, civil rights and value of different types of people.
- Have the students investigate the legal and societal situation
for people with disabilities in the first half of the 20th century.
Has the situation changed today? If so, in what ways?
AFTER USING THE GOVERNMENT MODULE
- Have the students select a specific area of legally mandated access
- such as public places (stores) or telephones or the internet. Have
them document the actual level of accessibility. Have them count the
number of visibly disabled people that they see in public places on
a weekend. If disabled people are at least 10% of any population,
where do they think the other disabled people are?
- Have the students interview people with disabilities in their local
area about the role of government in providing equality of access.
Also, have students interview people with disabilities about their
own personal role in advocating for access or being part of the disability
- Have students consider the similarities between the civil rights
movement, the women's suffrage movement and Native Indian self-government
movements with the disability rights movements.
LESSON PLAN AND CONTENT
This lesson has three parts: Background
of anti-discrimination laws; information about how the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) was created and became a law; and how the ADA
This lesson's activity asks students to
think about the role of government in people's lives, and about political
considerations which guide elected officials voting decisions.
In the Self-Test students are able to
assess the level of their understanding of both the lesson and the accompanying
activities. In seven multiple choice questions students get immediate
feedback on their answers.
This section includes a wide range of workers
with disabilities including taxi drivers, scientists and artists.
for further learning
With a focus on employment, these Resources
provide extensive information about a myriad of pre-employment and employment
situations for people with disabilities. It includes: cost analysis
for making workplace accommodations; court decisions on disabled people
in the workplace; issues facing disabled people of color; and myths
about people with disabilities as workers.
- Part 5.4 - Culture