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According to the Section 504 Fact Sheet, the Rehabilitation Act was first put into law in 1973. Part of that law, known as Section 504, gives people with a documented disability access to any building and/or service that receives federal funding of any kind.
When we talk about federal funding, we're talking about state-paid-for or nationally-paid-for services and/or organizations that get funding from the government in any way. For the first time in 50 years, individuals within the government are looking to update these policies.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council and Temple University's Institute on Disabilities partnered to hold a feedback session to get self advocates’ remarks on the changes that should be made to Section 504 to meet the standards for disability-related accommodations.
Some of the possible updates are to the policies for service animals. They want people who need the assistance of these animals to be able to take them anywhere without being told they're not allowed at all, or are not allowed in certain areas. This would make it so that all properly documented service animals can always be with their handler.
You may also see updates about the required care and repair of entrances and exits for those that use medical mobility equipment. The updates would make it so that these entrances and exits must be taken care of so that all individuals can enter buildings that receive federal funding.
In our ever-evolving, tech-centered society, one of the biggest updates to Section 504 is planned for apps and websites. This may include, but is not limited to, changes to how information is presented on a website or in an app.
Another possible, big change would make medical equipment more accessible for those with disabilities. This may include, but is not limited, to having a scale that is wheelchair-friendly, and adapting machinery so it can be used for someone with a disability.
Here's the cool part, the people working to update Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act want to hear from you! They want to know what would make places like medical centers, and technology overall, more accessible for you as a disabled person. You can use your power and your voice to make changes to the Rehabilitation Act and Section 504, so that others that come after you can benefit.
So, speak up for what you want for your life, and what you think would benefit others in the disability community, too. Remember to use your power, and don't let anything about you happen without you.
SAU1 is proud to support the disability community so that you can live your life, your way. We want you to be comfortable speaking up for what you want, and this gives you the opportunity to do that! Your knowledge is your power, use it to help make change happen!