TODAY'S QUESTION: How should Columbia accommodate the mentally impaired?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 | 12:55 p.m. CDT

On July 23, the U.S. Department of Justice revised accessibility regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act to require more accessibility in both public and recreational facilities.

The revisions won't take effect until next year, but Columbia is already thinking ahead. According to a previous Missourian report, the city wants public input on how to implement the changes.

However, it is unclear whether the act regulates how the city must assist the mentally impaired. The act's definition of "disability" includes individuals with mental impairment, but issues that are of priority to these individuals — such as finding housing and medical treatments — are not specifically mentioned in the original 1991 act or its 2010 revisions. Some private community-based organizations already seek to help individuals with mental impairments.

Should Columbia include accommodations for the mentally impaired in its ADA transition plan?

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Carlos Sanchez September 8, 2010 | 6:05 p.m.

Should Columbia include accommodations for the mentally impaired in its ADA transition plan?

Yes they should as disability does not discriminate across any ethnic,religious,cultural,economic or other aspects across society. Those with documented Mental Disabilities are often the most over looked when it does come to needing extra help in acquiring services. This would be another huge step forward in Columbia becoming more disabled friendly over all for the future.

(Report Comment)
Carlos Sanchez September 8, 2010 | 6:43 p.m.

I would also like to add here another often over looked at risk group and that is our Deaf Community. We need to keep them in mind here too.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 9, 2010 | 2:30 a.m.

("Ensuring Nondiscriminatory Zoning and Commercial Leasing Policies

Some of the damaging consequences of disability discrimination are the isolation and segregation of persons with disabilities. In passing the ADA, Congress recognized that such forms of discrimination result in social, vocational, economic, and educational disadvantages to individuals with disabilities, and that such practices run counter to the Nation's goals of assuring equality of opportunity and full participation in society. Especially where a disability is based on a mental disorder or mental illness, negative stereotypes and unfounded fears can be formidable obstacles to achieving the type of integration and participation envisioned by the ADA.

One of the ways in which the Department furthers the goal of full participation is through enforcement of the Act's prohibitions against discriminatory zoning and commercial leasing practices.")


Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: ADA Guide for Law Enforcement Officers

Some publications intended for State and Local Governments:

* A Police Officer's Guide--When In Contact With People Who Have Mental Retardation.

* Implementing the ADA: Case Studies of Exemplary Local Programs. A 76-page book developed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors which provides information on twelve cities that developed programs to provide better access to services for people with disabilities.

* Opening Public Agency Doors: Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and People with Mental Illnesses

* A Self-Evaluation Guide for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools. A 277-page guide produced by the U. S. Department of Education and Adaptive Environments, Inc. to help public school systems comply with the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

*Take Another Look: Police Response to Seizures and Epilepsy. A pamphlet and poster developed under a DOJ grant by the Police Executive Research Forum that provides law enforcement personnel with information on how to recognize and respond effectively to a person who has a seizure disorder.

*Title II Action Guide. A guide developed by Adaptive Environments Center, Inc., and Barrier Free Environments, Inc., under a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research that explains compliance obligations for state and local government programs and services.

*Title II Action Guide Supplement on Employment. A 41-page document developed by Adaptive Environments Center, Inc., and Barrier Free Environments, Inc.

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