Living with a disability is difficult enough without the added stress of trying to maneuver easily and safely around your home or out in public. The fight for the fair treatment and recognition of the disabled has been a long-fought battle.
The Fight for Disabled Persons’ Rights
The first step in removing barriers was the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, which ended discrimination in the workplace against those with disabilities. Persons could not be denied employment nor fired because of their disability. With the passage of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines in 1991 and the subsequent updated ADA Standards for Accessible Design in 2010, it became easier for the disabled to maneuver at work, as well as in public entities, commercial entities and on public transportation.
Ramps were required to enter public spaces. Bathrooms in these entities were required to offer wheelchair-accessible facilities. Hallways needed to wide enough to allow for wheelchairs as well. Although many states have offered reserved parking spaces for the disabled for many years, the practice was not enforced nationwide until the 1991 guidelines were passed.
ADA Compliant Products and Accommodations for the Home
Once the disabled were given their long-deserved recognition in the workplace and in public spaces, many more ADA compliant products became available for the home. These products ensured that those with disabilities could rely on safe products to help them maneuver more easily in their house.
- Kitchen products – ADA compliant kitchen sinks and faucets make living much more convenient. Faucets are designed with easy-to-grip handles and some with hands-free technology. Lower sinks that are shallow allow for wheelchair accessibility and easy reach.
- Bathroom accommodations – Since the bathroom is the place where most accidents occur in the home, many features have been developed for safe maneuvering. To start your accessible space, the door must be at least 32” wide. Ample clear floor space is necessary for those with wheelchairs as well.
- Bathroom products – Select a toilet that is at least 16-1/2” tall from the floor to the rim for easier use. When choosing sinks, install one that is no taller than 34”. ADA compliant shower systems are a must to stay safe while bathing. These systems create barrier-free accessibility for wheelchair users. For those with limited mobility, shower kits are available with a low threshold.
Our world has come a long way in making life a little easier for the disabled. As technology increases, hopefully living with a disability can be even more comfortable.