Attitudinal Barriers Can Take Longer To Break Down
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 21, 2006
FRAMINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS--It has been sixteen years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, requiring public buildings, services and programs to be accessible.
While accessibility in small towns and large cities has generally improved, people with disabilities continue to face barriers, particularly when it comes to attitudes toward them and their rights.
Sunday's MetroWest Daily News looked at the concerns of such residents in the east-central Massachusetts towns of Framingham, Holliston, Sudbury, Milford and Ashton -- each of which now have their own disability panels.
"It takes a long time to change attitudes," said Dino DeBartolomeis, who heads the Milford Commission on Disability.
Dennis Polselli, chairman of Framingham's Disability Commission, said his town has not yet completed the accessibility self-evaluation that the U.S. Department of Justice required at the beginning of the Clinton administration.
"It's better to get it done now," Polselli said.
Myra Berloff, director of the state's Office on Disability, said: "We have a long way to go."
"Our biggest barrier is attitude. We are working hard to educate people that (everyone) has the same desire to do the same things."
Hollister resident Jim Moore, who was appointed last week to the town's recently-formed Disability Advisory Committee, said: "It's being able to enjoy Holliston . . . and being accessible."
The board was formed on the recommendation of Moore's 20-year-old son, Brian, who uses a wheelchair because of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
"I think more disabled people are getting out there and being part of the community," Jim Moore added.
"Disabled access still lacking across region" (MetroWest Daily News)