Technologies And Disability Essay

1003 words - 5 pages

On June 23, 1988, Congressman Jim Jeffords of Vermont and Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa introduced the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988. On August 19, 1988, President Reagan signed the Act and it became law, Public Law 100-407. The support for the legislation was very strong. People with disabilities, their families and advocates and those who direct or provide services to those with disabilities emphasized to Congress the importance of technology and support services in technology for people with disabilities.Access to information technology is critical in employment and education for people who are blind. The Telecommunications Act of 1996, a ...view middle of the document...

The disability provisions of the Telecommunications Act follow other actions taken by the U.S. Congress to improve access and opportunity for disabled individuals in the areas of education, employment, tax policy, transportation and technology that assist those with disabilities. In stating the purpose of these new rules, the FCC report emphasizes the dominance of telecommunications in U.S. life today, the importance of telecommunications skills in the workplace and in achieving independence in everyday life. The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors. The purposes of this Act are to empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into society; and to ensure that the Federal Government plays a leadership role in promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with significant disabilities, and in assisting States and providers of services in fulfilling the aspirations of such individuals with disabilities for meaningful and gainful employment and independent living. The net result will be that Federal agencies will have to purchase electronic and information technology that is accessible. The law also provides a complaint process under which complaints concerning access to technology will be investigated by the responsible Federal agency. Section 508 was amended in 1998 to require EIT developed, procured, maintained or used by the Federal agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, be accessible to all people with disabilities. It created binding enforceable standards and incorporated those standards into the Federal procurement regulations. Federal agencies must now use these standards in all their EIT acquisitions.

On October, 1, 1988, $5 million in federal funds were available for the Technology Act. Most of the money will be used to fund seven or eight State Grants, awarded on a competitive basis. However, it is also anticipated that some of the money will be used to fund a technical assistance center to help states develop and implement statewide programs in technology-related assistance, and also to fund an evaluation contract to assess how well states that...

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