Access to Justice as a Path to Inclusion

People with disabilities have been historically excluded from the mainstream of most societies. The right to be included in all aspects of community living is a relatively recent phenomenon.

The Beginning of Inclusion

People with disabilities have long been excluded from community life. Laws that protect our rights to be included in the community are pretty new.  The Education for All Children Act was passed in the United States in the 1970s.  But many public school buildings are still not accessible to everyone.  Many students with physical disabilities remain on the outside. An even larger number of children with developmental disabilities still don’t get the services they need at school.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed in 1990. The ADA was intended to make buildings, programs and services open and available to all. That dream has also not yet been realized. Housing is an even greater issue. There is a lack of integration and financial support, and opposition from some communities. In employment, about 80-85% of non-disabled workers have jobs. For the disabled, that number is as low as 25% for people with severe disabilities and 50% for all other disabilities.


There are many non-profits and legal aid organizations which can help us advocate for our rights, but those resources are limited. We are learning to advocate for ourselves. Choose a topic from our drop down menu to read more. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more.