Until recently, Americans with disabilities were often treated as second class citizens. This is because they were frequently unable to access places like buildings, bathrooms, entrances, etc. due to their design. For example, wheel chair bound individuals are unable to get to the second floor of a building that has no elevator, nor are they able to access bathrooms that are too small to allow a wheel chair to maneuver effective.
Thankfully, this all changed in 1990 with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, also called the ADA. The ADA prevents discrimination against people with disabilities. A disability under the ADA is defined as “…a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.”
As a result of the passage of the law, Americans have become much more sensitive to the needs of disabled Americans. It has also led to a cottage industry based around making homes and buildings more accessible for disabled people.
For example, stairway lifts and wheelchair lifts are devices that allow those unable to walk, or climb stairs, to access upper floors in buildings where an elevator is impossible or impractical. Another solution to this problem is to install a wheel chair ramp. These are simple inclined planes installed in addition to or instead of stairs. There are even portable wheelchair ramps. Many vehicles now have powered wheel chair car lifts to help wheel chair bound individuals get on board quickly and easily. These car lifts are especially popular on public vehicles like buses. Read this for more.