The following list, while not inclusive of all the laws, gives some indication as to how the concept of "providing vocational opportunities" has evolved into the concept of "equal rights and access." Included, too, are major sociological events related to legislation and disability rights.provided an opportunity for soldiers to receive instruction to facilitate their return to civilian life; for the first time legislatively the country recognized its obligation to persons injured in service to their country.retained priority for blindness in the provision of products for the federal government and added people with severe handicaps as eligible for participation. (Note: Section 508 has not really taken affect until very recently eventhough it was originally part of this particular law).
In 1986 congress passed legislation mandating
The path of legislation benefitting those with disabilities has been a relatively short one for this country considering most of the legislation has occurred during the past century.
provided rehabilitation services for migratory workers, eliminated the state residency requirement, and supported the construction and operation of the National Center for Deaf/Blind Youth and Adults. was the first act to address the notion of equal access of people with disabilities through the removal of architectural, employment and transportation barriers; further supported the rights of persons with disabilities through affirmative action emphasis and the legal support established in Title V: prohibited discrimination on the basis of physical and mental handicaps in programs receiving federal funds; also established the Client Assistance Demonstration Projects (CAPS) to provide assistance in informing and advising clients and applicants of all available benefits under the ; emphasized priority of services for persons with the most severe handicap and the development of the Individual Written Rehabilitation Plan (IWRP); established by statute the Rehabilitation Services Administration.
added follow-up services for maintaining a person with a handicap in employment and provided services to family members; gave authority to provide vocational evaluation and work adjustment services to persons disadvantaged by reasons of age, level of vocational attainment, ethnic or other factors; federal share was increased to 80%. Board of Education, established that denying education to handicapped children or treating them differently within the educational system was a denial of equal protection and due process under the U. addressed issues related to access to communication and computer technology.
reshaped the roles of the federal and state government in the rehabilitation program; established the basis for a working relationship between public and private rehabilitation and expanded the role of the state agency; established funding sources for (1) college and university training of rehabilitation professionals; (2) improvement and remodeling of rehabilitation facilities; and (3) research and demonstration grants; increased federal funding to states (3 federal dollars for each 2 dollars from the state); increased services to persons with mental retardation and mental illness through items (2) and (3) above, along with agency expansion and improvement grants.
expanded services to include person with socially handicapping conditions, such as alcoholism, lack of education, and prison records; expanded evaluation to determine individual eligibility for services where feasibility was not easily determined; allowed rehabilitation counselors to take more risks in serving persons with vocational handicaps, thereby serving more people with severe disabilities; established a National Commission on Architectural Barriers; deleted economic need as a general requirement for services; and increased federal match to 75%.