by Jennifer K. Skulski, National Center on Accessibility
Who doesn’t love a parade? The floats. The marching bands. The pageantry. From your hometown Fourth of July parade to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, there’s a festive spirit in the air. And of course, who doesn’t love the granddaddy of them all…the parade that has brought in the new year for more than 100 years now…the Tournament of Roses Parade.
In addition to physical and attitudinal barriers, people with disabilities also encounter barriers in the format in which information is presented. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federally conducted and assisted programs along with programs of state and local government are required to make their programs accessible to people with disabilities as well as provide effective communication. Effective communication means to communicate with people with disabilities as effectively as communicating with others.
A woman walks to the front of the room and begins to communicate in American Sign Language. The hearing participants look at each other in confusion. Worry is displayed on each person's face as they wonder how will they understand the information presented in the class. For many people with visual, auditory, or cognitive impairments, this scenario can be a daily event. Effective communication is essential for an individual to be able to participate and benefit in programs and activities.