The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 had as one it's primary premises 'accessibility for all', however if you ask individuals most in need of accessible alterations and modifications, you'll find that the law has not fulfilled this objective.

Many people in the community who have a base knowledge of the ADA think all must be good now as businesses must be in compliance. But they fail to understand that enforcement is inconsistent AND knowledge of how to implement accessibility is gravely lacking.

So how do we get proper response to accessibility in communities to be both understood and implemented? It all starts with disability awareness training. We simply can not expect people who do not live with a disability to adhere to a law they know very little, if anything, about and be responsive to individual needs. However, when we sensitize them followed by education on the topic and how to meet accessibility standards, businesses and public entities become more receptive. But it doesn't stop there.

A business is in business to make money, bottom line. If it costs me money to make more money, I have to consider that. How about the expendable income the disability community put into the US economy in 2009 - $225 billion! Restaurants alone saw $35 billion of that.

So we have a federal law that says I need to be accessible, we want to be sure all customers can access our establishment, and there is a pool of money out there I may be missing out on if I don't respond.

Trainings are offered by a number of entities that will gladly educate for the sake of the common good. In Buffalo, we have followed in the footsteps of Nashville and developed the cutting edge program, Access Buffalo. The program is community driven and supported, all in the best interest of its residents and those that visit our fine city.