Written by NCHPAD
This weekend is sure to be filled with all things red, white, and blue as we celebrate our nation’s freedom! However, let’s not forget that July is a landmark month for all; there is one more important commemoration that has prompted independence and equal opportunity for individuals with disability in the United States. On July 26, 2015, many individuals and organizations across the country will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life and promotes accessibility to jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. In preparation for the upcoming 25th Anniversary, let’s take a look at how the ADA has contributed to inclusive physical activity and future work that needs to be done to create community health inclusion.
Simply put, the ADA helps to improve people with disabilities’ opportunities to choose. “Nothing about us without us” is a popular civil rights chant for the change from oppression to empowerment of people with disability. We often talk about building healthy, inclusive communities and choice is a key component of this mantra. The opportunity to access healthy food options and find accessible places to be physically active should be available to every member in a community. While we can’t control the choices people make, we can help to make the healthy choice available to all. The ADA has paved the way for individuals with disability to access public accommodations and services with an update in 2010 covering recreation facilities, play areas, and state and local government facilities. However, there is still more work to be done. The outcome of inclusive physical activity communities is a society that respects and values the rights of all to have equal access to physical activity.
Here are some tips for creating inclusion in a fitness setting:
- Use NCHPAD’s Before & After Fitness Center Makeover to assess environmental barriers
- Utilize principles of Universal Design to go above and beyond minimum law requirements
- Provide equipment that offers features for users of varying abilities (See ASTM Standards)
- Stay up to speed on Disability Awareness
- Separate from the pack with the ACSM/NCHPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainer (CIFT) specialty certification
- Utilize resources like Discover Accessible Fitness
Jerry has seen a lot in over 35 years as someone living with a disability. He’s seen many of the barriers and attitudes towards people with disability persist. But he’s also seen many positive changes to get people with disability physically active through recreational opportunities such as golf, fishing and even snow-skiing. There are now organizations such as Lakeshore Foundation – where Jerry works part-time coaching youth basketball and track – that provide recreational opportunities.
Jerry states: “I don’t expect the world to revolve around us. I will adapt – just make it so I can adapt.”
Read the full story at: http://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/disabilityandhealth/stories.html.
You can Pledge On by sharing this post with your networks. Use one of the sample tweets below to join the movement:
@NCHPAD takes a look at the Americans w/ Disabilities Act & inclusive physical activity in the BAYW blog! #ADA25 http://odphp.tumblr.com/
Join @NCHPAD in creating inclusive physical activity communities & PLEDGE ON! to #ADA25! Read BAYW blog for more http://odphp.tumblr.com/.