July 28, 2010
Law clinic helps organizations comply with Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 20 years ago this week, and the University of Iowa College of Law has helped dozens of Iowa businesses, organizations and government agencies comply with the law that mandates the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities.
"The ADA has expanded opportunities in the Hawkeye State and across the country by reducing barriers, changing perceptions and promoting full participation in every aspect of community life," said Leonard Sandler, clinical professor in the law school's legal clinic. He said the clinical law program has partnered with grassroots community organizations, government officials and other groups and individuals to help fulfill the promise of the ADA and other non-discrimination laws.
Projects the law school has completed in the 20 years since the law was passed include:
-- Numerous local businesses and organizations worked with the clinic to audit their facilities and redesign them if necessary to be more accessible to persons with disabilities. Organizations include Coral Ridge Mall, New Pioneer Coop, Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Cedar Rapids Kernels and Coe College.
-- Trails and facilities in Iowa City's Hickory Hill Park have been made accessible, and the scenic park’s natural beauty and habitat have been preserved.
-- Countdown timers have been installed on traffic signals for pedestrian awareness and safety in downtown Iowa City.
-- Local banks have installed "talking ATMs" for people with vision or reading impairments after usability and access survey.
-- Insurers and schools provide children and adults with assistive technology equipment for use at school, work and home with the clinic's AT Legal Project help.
-- Cedar Rapids has improved its paratransit and transportation policies in response to mystery rider surveys and input from Peer Action Disability Support.
-- The Iowa Assistive Devices Warranty Act, a kind of lemon law, was passed by the Iowa legislature to protect consumers with disabilities who use special equipment.
-- Johnson County SEATS revised its policies and handbook to better serve people with disabilities and other riders.
-- Iowa incorporates most of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines standards into the state accessibility code to eliminate confusion and ensure access.
-- The first Universal Design Model Home in the state was built in Iowa City with clinic and community participation in all project phases.
-- Iowa City adopts the state's first universal design ordinance with clinic assistance.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500
MEDIA CONTACT: Leonard Sandler, clinical professor of law, 319-335-9030, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tom Snee, University News Services, email@example.com, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell)