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Moreover, the predicted flood of lawsuits proved to be imaginary.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most comprehensive federal civil-rights statute protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
It affects access to employment; state and local government programs and services; access to places of public accommodation such as businesses, transportation, and non-profit service providers; and telecommunications. The scope of the ADA in addressing the barriers to participation by people with disabilities in the mainstream of society is very broad.
Studies have shown, however, that businesses have adapted to the ADA much more easily - and inexpensively - than the doomsayers predicted.
Some have even made money by making accommodations.
Another problem has been contradictory federal policies that actually make it difficult for people with disabilities to work.
Under current Social Security regulations, a person with a disability is allowed to enroll in Medicare, but can earn only a few hundred dollars a month.
In 1990, 70 percent of people with disabilities were unemployed, and the figure remains the same today.
Part of the problem, they say, is the adverse court rulings.
Universal design -- the practice of designing products, buildings and public spaces and programs to be usable by the greatest number of people -- has helped create a society where curb cuts, ramps, lifts on buses, and other access designs are increasingly common.
In the process, we have discovered that an accessible society is good for everyone, not just people with disabilities.