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It may be "ADA-Compliant" ... but how accessible is that place for You?
Defining and Finding "True" Accessibility
Illustration: A woman calls a restaurant to make sure it will be sufficiently accessible for a disabled family member.
[1] How "Accessible" is That Place?

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines general standards of accessibility. Under this Act, Federal Law requires that all "public facilities", including retail businesses and professional offices, be fully compliant with ADA specifications now.

Being "ADA-Compliant" does not guarantee that any particular store, or restaurant, or doctor's office, or church, or other facility will be sufficiently accessible to accommodate your particular disability.

However, it doesn't guarantee that it won't either.

The ADA is a Civil Rights Law. And a conviction for ADA non-compliance carries a $55,000 fine on the first offense — and $110,000 for each subsequent offense (if the ADA is enforced strictly).

However, although the ADA has been the law of the land since the early 1990's,
many places open to the public are still not "ADA-compliant" ...

And some places may not become "ADA-compliant" for a long time – if ever.


Consequently, there is NO simple "one size fits all" answer for the business and professional community OR for the disability community at large. And if you have challenges accomplishing various life tasks because of a "disability", you will always need to be your own advocate!

The First Step is to Develop Your Own "Personal Accessibility" Checklist:

Regardless of whether you're looking for a restaurant, a Church, a place to shop, a doctor's office, or a new place to live, you will want to spend some time thinking about, and making detailed notes on, exactly what building features and/or services you might need that will make a particular place accessible for you. This is ESSENTIAL!

Your relatives and close friends can probably help you with this project, because they have been around you in various situations, and their familiarity with your particular disability should enable them to provide you with at least some of the practical insight you need for success.

Then create a personalized accessibility checklist, and you can be your own advocate.

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