Webinar: ADA Reflections from Leaders of ADA Centers

audio version (opens in a new tab)




Part of my blog post last week included

my ADA reflections.

As a follow-up article, I am sharing a webinar which includes reflections from other people. On July 22, 2021

I attended a webinar featuring the perspectives of current and past Directors of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Centers. The conversation is entitled

“Chat with the Directors Past and Present”.

The link above provides access to event recording. In this blog post, I will share some of the reflections provided.


In the Beginning

The Director from

Pacific ADA Center

stated that at beginning of the ADA, questions were frequently about receiving all ADA information, what the law is and providing short training sessions. A second speaker agreed stating that in the beginning, there were no guidance documents available from federal agencies. Relationships with federal agencies were established and nurtured to provide sufficient technical assistance. A representative from the U.S. Department of Justice agreed that people did not understand the ADA. As a result, the ADA national network was crucial. The individual also stated importance of relevant information. A past Director of the

Mid-Atlantic ADA Center

stated regional centers can help provide local information. Focus then moved to employment.




Northeast ADA Center

representative said employers are encouraged to focus on policies/practices more than disability. A representative from the

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

cited importance of partnership with the ADA national network and contacting the network. The EEOC has provided trainings over the years and answered questions. The ADA network has helped EEOC by providing information used in EEOC publications and helped the agency determine what material was developed. It is important for employers to understand the ADA. Reflection was then provided about ADA center challenges.


ADA Center Challenges

Earlier in the presentation, an ADA center Director said an underserved disability community is people with addiction. When center challenges were specifically discussed, the

Great Lakes ADA Center

Director stated that a broad variety of people with disabilities need to be served in a way which works for them. For the

Rocky Mountain ADA Center,

a challenge has been outreach to rural areas. Their solution is attending local conferences. The

Great Plains ADA Center

representative also stated difficulty reaching rural areas with outreach. Centers for independent living have also been a useful resource in receiving information and training others. Small businesses need to understand that building accessibility compliance is only necessary when readily achievable. The conversation then wrapped up by looking to the future.




Northwest ADA Center

director stated the centers are still important because the ADA’s promise has not yet been fulfilled. Example: access needs tend to be an afterthought. Therefore, training and being a resource are both crucial. After the recorded conversation, a number of images from the past were shown with brief verbal descriptions for all of them. Bottom line: the ADA has been and continues to be crucial for Americans with disabilities.


Question For Readers

Consider all of the reflections from various ADA centers, which reflection or reflections did you find most interesting and why? I will return with another article.


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