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Celebrate Disability Pride

July is Disability Pride Month, with the disability pride flag in the left corner

July is Disability Pride Month


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a Civil Rights legislation signed into law on July 26, 1990, which ensures equal access to goods and services for people with disabilities that others may take for granted, like employment, transportation, or vital services within the community activities. While the ADA has existed since then, Disability Pride was first recognized in 2015 on the 25th Anniversary of the ADA and remains an annual celebration each July.

What is Disability Pride?

People with disabilities often embrace their disability as part of who they are, rather than someone with a stigma attached to them. Disability Pride embraces the confidence and determination of all people, especially those with disabilities and celebrates their accomplishments in life. For agencies who serve people with disabilities, it is important to treat everyone with the same dignity and respect.

No matter how someone identifies or refers to their own disability, it is important to respect those personal viewpoints. Using person-first language can be a great first step to show respect toward someone with a disability, saying “person with a disability” and figuratively placing the person first, shows a respect for the person rather than placing a label on them and framing it as something negative.

Transportation providers have an opportunity to assist those who rely exclusively on their services to get to work, healthcare appointments and vital services within the community. This is especially true for riders who need an accessible vehicle with a ramp or lift, which can expand the possibilities of where someone may be able to travel.

How to Support People with Disabilities

As a transportation provider, the best way to celebrate or support people with disabilities is to engage them in the planning process, making their voices heard, and most importantly, that they are invited to the table throughout the process. The more transportation providers can do to show their support for people with disabilities, a greater sense of trust can be developed by the community. Below are a few helpful tips a transit agency can do to support people with disabilities, more in-depth information can be found in NADTC’s publication, “Creating a Transportation Committee That Reflects All Community Voices.”

A person standing in front of a group of older adults sitting around round tables.

Source: Des Moines D A R T

Accessible Spaces

Think beyond the bus and ensure your facilities and public spaces are accessible for all users. This should also be considered when planning public meetings or events outside of your agency, allowing equitable participation for people with disabilities.

Active Participation

Invite people with disabilities to the table to be part of the decision-making process, this can bring a valuable viewpoint of someone who uses the service and can enhance future transportation services. Likewise, by joining conversations with organizations that support people with disabilities, you can provide input into their planning efforts showing that you value each other’s contributions to the community.

Training and Awareness

Ensure transit staff and drivers are aware of the importance of the ADA, and how to properly assist passengers while riding, including requests for reasonable modification to service that can make the ride more enjoyable for everyone.

Resources to Assist People with Disabilities

NADTC has developed several resources to assist transportation providers to enhance services available for people with disabilities, and the communities they serve. These resources are meant to educate or inform on ways an agency can develop inclusive planning practices, hold accessible meetings, use person-first language, train drivers, or implement innovative services to better assist people with disabilities.

  • “Why Serving Everyone Doesn’t Serve Everyone” (2023) is a 3-module course that provides a comprehensive approach to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Each module showcases real life examples of communities working collaboratively to identify and address the unique needs and experiences of all individuals in an appropriate and respectful way.
  • Coordination Committee Toolkit (2023) was developed by NADTC’s Coordination Advisory Committee and created as a way to assist transportation providers to attract partners, to collect or analyze data, and enhance their overall planning efforts.
  • “How Can I Assist You?” (2022) is a webinar that explores Reasonable Modification to Policy, which is a U.S. DOT requirement that obligates transit providers to modify their policies and practices to accommodate persons with disabilities unless those modifications would result in an undue burden or a fundamental alteration of the program.
  • “Meeting the Needs of Older Passengers with Vision Loss” (2022) is aresource created to provide guidance to transportation providers to better serve older adults with vision loss and created in partnership with the American Foundation for the Blind.
  • Access Matters (2022) is a series of short videos that offers drivers and transit staff training on how to serve people with disabilities in a respectful and helpful way.

This blog was written by Jeremy Johnson-Miller, Communications Manager for the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center

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