The new superintendent of the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities received a proclamation from Delaware County commissioners Monday, marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“This is really a civil rights issue about how disabilities are treated,” said Superintendent Kristine Hodge. “When you look back at why it was created, there weren’t a lot of employment opportunities, but there were a lot of institutions. Folks with disabilities were mainly in the home of their families or institutionalized, and could not have equal opportunity.”
The ADA.gov website states, “The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”
“We see (wheelchair) ramps and (handicap-) accessible parking today,” Hodge said. “All that originated with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This was such an important piece of legislation for the people we serve with disabilities.”
“This historic act was the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality and inclusion for persons with disabilities,” said Commissioner Gary Merrell, reading the proclamation. “Approximately 20 percent of the U.S. population has some kind of disability. The ADA has expanded opportunities by reducing barriers, changing perceptions and increasing full participation in community life.
“We will continue to encourage the citizens of Delaware County to work towards full ADA compliance,” Merrell continued. “We thank the community for their continued acceptance and inclusion of all people, including people with disabilities, that have contributed to our community in numerous ways.”
Hodge started as the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ new superintendent on June 1, replacing Robert Morgan. At the end of 2014, the board was serving 2,326 people, up 89 from 2013. In 2013, voters passed a new 0.56-mill levy in support of the agency’s services by a wide margin. The board is at 7991 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.