Today marks the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places open to the general public, was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990.
The ADA and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA and ADAAA assure equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities for access to businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.
Though the Americans with Disabilities Act and captioning don’t always necessarily go hand-in-hand, many companies, schools and universities, event centers, and government entities, just to name a few, employ captions and audio description to become and remain ADA compliant and provide greater access to those who are deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH).
VITAC has worked with caption viewers and advocates for more than 30 years and, though not all video must be captioned by law, we strongly believe that everything should be captioned, if only for the benefits captions provide all viewers.
Captions benefit not only those more than 50 million Americans in the DHOH community, but also millions of children learning to read who can use captions as a tool to improve comprehension and listening skills, millions of people over the age of 17 for whom English is not their first language, and millions of Americans over the age of 62 who suffer from hearing loss and do not use hearing aids.
And we haven’t even mentioned the ever-growing number of Americans who prefer to watch video with the sound off or who watch in environments where it’s impossible to hear the audio — on mass transit, in busy restaurants, on noisy gym treadmills, or in libraries.
Just as ADA-mandated curb cuts in sidewalks benefit more than people with disabilities, captions benefit more than just those who cannot hear.
There are celebrations and events surrounding the ADA’s anniversary happening today and in the coming days. Click here for more information.