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July 28, 2014  

Americans With Disabilities Act and Social Work

Annotated Bibliography
by: Anita L. Rosen, Ph.D, MSW and Elise Brady, Intern
April 97

The following abstracts were taken from the Social Work Abstracts Database of the National Association of Social Workers, 1996.

Cole, B. S., Christ, C. C., & Light, T.R. (1995, Spring/Summer). Social work education and students with disabilities: implications of section 504 and the ADA. Journal of Social Work Education, 31(2), 261-268.

This study addresses major educational issues related to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Because students with disabilities are entering higher education in ever larger numbers, and with greater expectations for accommodation than those of a generation ago, social work educators and administrators should be aware of the implications of these two statutes and relevant case law for admissions, classroom accommodations, and field placements.

Gordon, E. B. (1994). Promoting the relevance of policy to practice: using the ADA to teach social policy. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 10(1/2), 161-176.

This study describes an approach to teaching social policy using the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This approach helps students develop and exercise practice policy skills, and encourages them to see policy intervention as integral to social work practice. Proposed resources include the legislation itself, speakers and media sources, and a student assignment. The study suggests that countering social work's current trend away from policy practice requires demonstrating the natural link between policy and practice and helping students see policy practice skills as within their inherent abilities and interests.

Kopels. S. (1995, Fall). The Americans with Disabilities Act: a tool to combat poverty. Journal of Social Work Education, 31(3), 337-346.

Statistics consistently demonstrate that people with disabilities are the poorest, least educated, and largest minority population in America. This study examines the employment provisions of Title I of the recently enacted Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its use in combating poverty for individuals with disabilities. The ADA in its entirety, and Title I in particular, is useful both as an advocacy and pedagogical tool to understand and alleviate poverty, oppression, and discrimination. Suggestions for infusing this content into the professional foundation curriculum are included.

McEntee, M. K. (1995, March). Deaf and hard-of-hearing clients: some legal implications. Social Work, 40(2), 183-187.

At least one of every 16 Americans has some degree of hearing loss and may use a variety of communication modes, including spoken English and American Sign Language. With the passage of various federal laws, most notably the Americans with Disabilities Act, social services agencies will need to become more aware of the needs of their deaf and hard-of-hearing clients. This article reviews federal legislation and statutes and their impact on service and legal programs. Legislative mandates for the use of assistive devices and interpreters in various settings are discussed. As service providers and advocates, social workers need to ensure that their own services adequately meet legal and ethical obligations and that the profession advocates for other agencies to do the same.

Merrick, L. (1994). The disability triage: denial, marginalization, and legislation. Journal of Religion in Disability and Rehabilitation, 1(1), 39-45.

A significant number of people either enter the world with an impairment or acquire one. Any system which ignores this universal probability requires a refined denial. Instances where denial is overcome are often soon replaced by efforts to marginalize the power or voice of persons with disabilities. Legislation emerges to address these systemic motivations (the Americans with Disabilities Act). These three elements represent a cycle of triage whereby protection of the rights of persons with disabilities require clear vision and steadfast advocacy, for without such commitment, national agenda is always one step away from benign neglect.

Moxley, D. (1992, May). Disability policy and social work practice. Health and Social Work, 17(2), 99-103.

Three articles in this issue discuss disability policy in the United States and its implications for social work practice. People with disabilities face monumental barriers in obtaining employment, education, housing, and income. Given this reality, they form a large minority group that experiences perhaps the highest level of discrimination in society (DeJong & Batavia, 1990). Despite the enactment of Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 (West, 1991), people with disabilities will continue to feel the bite of discrimination as a result of the absence of flexible income support programs, disincentives to enter gainful employment, weak economic incentives to employ people with disabilities, inadequate housing alternatives, and few supports to encourage postsecondary educational advancement and training (DeJong & Batavia, 1990). Within this context it appears that case management may not be the intervention of choice, especially when resources available to a target population--such as those experiencing severe and persistent psychiatric disabilities--are limited. Yet given the need for policy and interpersonal advocacy, the time may be right for many social workers to relax their clinical orientations and to assume the roles of dedicated advocates of client-defined needs, desires, and choices.

Orlin, M. (1995, March). The Americans with Disabilities Act: implications for social services. Social Work, 40(2), 233-239.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The Act prohibits denying individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in a program or service that is not equal to or that is different or separate from that given others. This article provides examples of possible barriers to full participation that might exist in social services and gives illustrations of reasonable modifications to increase access. Employers, private and government, profit and nonprofit, must make reasonable physical accommodations for disabled employees, unless such accommodation would cause undue hardship. This article gives examples of reasonable accommodations and undue hardship and discusses the ADA as a resource to clients with mental and physical disabilities and as a framework of protection for agencies serving them.

Quinn, P. Social work education and disability: benefiting from the impact of the ADA. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 12(1/2), 55-71.

Social work has a long history in the areas of rehabilitation and work with peoples with disabilities, at least as far as medical social work is concerned. During the 1960s, funding and opportunities in the area of disability and rehabilitation provided opportunities for increased involvement of social workers. In the last two decades, however, social work has virtually relinquished its place to rehabilitation professionals, counselors, and the medical profession. Education and research have not focused on these areas. A 1992 survey of graduate schools of social work revealed that, even with the impetus of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, few schools have content on disability and rehabilitation. As a step toward upgrading curriculum content, some sources of information and some resources for curriculum enhancement are described.

Woody, R. H. (1993, Spring). Americans with Disabilities Act: implications for family therapy. American Journal of Family Therapy, 21(1), 71-78.

This article provides a review of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-596) and discusses its implications for family therapy. Consideration is given to the family therapist's proper form of advocacy of rights and therapeutic usage of the Act for empowering the individual with a disability and his or her family.


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