Assistive Technology – Administration on Community Living (ACL) BLOG

Assistive Technology 25 Years After the ADA

By Marty Exline, Director, Missouri Assistive Technology

As the nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ACL blog is featuring guest posts from leaders in the disability community.

It is hard to believe that the ADA is turning 25! We’ve seen such amazing changes in those 25 years; it’s not easy to fully appreciate how far we’ve come and the law’s incredible impact.

While we’re celebrating the ADA, let’s celebrate the role of assistive technology (AT) in advancing the goals of the ADA in all areas of public and private life. It’s actually a two-way street—the existence of the ADA expanded the demand for AT and sped the development of newer and better technology.

The ADA and 1999 Olmstead decision also raised the bar for home and community based services (HCBS). In 1995, HCBS accounted for 20% of Medicaid long-term care expenditures; by 2011, that figure had grown to 45%.

The network of 56 federally-funded state AT Programs has witnessed these incredible advancements and they’ve collaborated to improve access to and acquisition of AT for hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities.

Some of us can remember AT in the years after the ADA was signed into law.  (Read More)