ADA Awareness Day

Hello, and welcome to the DIRC section of the Texas Talking Book Program blog! The Disability Information and Referral Center (DIRC) houses information and materials on types of disabilities and health conditions, as well as related organizations, agencies, publications, products, and technology. This is a free reference service provided for anyone with a disability or health related question. You do not have to be a member of the Talking Book Program in order to use the services provided by the DIRC.

Monday, July 16th, is known as Disability (ADA) Awareness Day. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. Bush, and later amended on January 1, 2009.

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability.
There are four sections, or titles, of the ADA:
Title I – Employment
Title II – Public Entities (and public transportation)
Title III – Public Accommodations (and Commercial Facilities)
Title IV – Telecommunications

The ADA does not cover every type of health condition or disability, or every aspect of life. Some people with disabilities have the belief that the ADA affords them the legal right to ask for and receive anything they need, and this is not the case. For example, apartment complexes must provide accessible units, but certain accessible elements such as grab bars in the bathroom are not mandated by the ADA. Residents with disabilities who need grab bars may have to pay for both the installation, and the eventual removal, of the grab bars when they vacate the apartment.

Another interesting aspect of the ADA is that while Titles II, III, and IV are enforced by the Department of Justice, Title I, which covers employment, is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Persons with disabilities who feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace can contact the EEOC at, 800-669-4000.

On September 25, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) into law. The main impetus for the ADAAA was to clarify and broaden the definition of disability in order to include individuals who were not protected under the first version of the law. To learn more about the ADAAA, visit

For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act:

The U.S. Department of Justice
Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act:, 800-514-0301
ADA specialists are available by phone to answer questions concerning the ADA. Copies of the ADA regulations, as well as other publications, are available as well. Materials can be provided in alternative formats as well: large print, audio, Braille, and computer disk

Southwest ADA Center:, 800-949-4232
This is a regional office that provides similar services as technical assistance, training, and materials dissemination. The Center is funded by a grant from the Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Wikipedia page on the Americans with Disabilities Act:

2012 ADA Anniversary Toolkit:

The DIRC features a circulating collection of books in print and educational videos. Books are loaned for a period of five weeks, and videos for three weeks. The borrower is responsible for the return postage by fourth class mail.

Here are some DIRC titles concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act:

The ABCs of the ADA: your early childhood program’s guide to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2009

Employment Issues and Multiple Sclerosis, 2008

Voices from the edge: narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2004

Equality of opportunity: the making of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1997

Texas factoid about the ADA:
Justin Dart, although born in Illinois, is known as a Texas son who endeavored tirelessly for the rights of people with disabilities. A polio survivor, he worked with President George H. Bush on the drafting of the ADA, and he was present at the ceremony when the bill was signed into law. Mr. Dart passed away in 2002 at the age of 71. The University of Houston Students with Disabilities Office has been re-named the Justin Dart Center. To learn more about Justin Dart and his accomplishments, please visit:,_Jr.