The ADA and COVID-19 in 2021: the Journey Forward

Uber Driver on Bike

In 2020, the American Printing House for the Blind, the American Foundation for the blind and 13 other vision-related U.S. organizations and companies, carried out the “Flatten Inaccessibility” survey to determine how critical areas of life were affected by the pandemic for people with vision loss. Several segments of life were included, among them technology, transportation, healthcare, social experiences, and access to food and supplies. Some of the results of the survey as they related to the ADA were discussed in a post entitled The ADA in the Age of COVID-19. If you want to learn more about all the findings, you can read the full report on the AFB website. 

Some of the study findings include: 

  • 1921 participants; 65% blind and 35% low vision; 42% were over the age of 55; 34% lived alone 
  • 68% had concerns about transportation 
  • 54% had health care concerns 
  • 51% had concerns about access to food, meals, and supplies 

The Flattening Inaccessibility executive summary lays out some recommendations that came out of the report related to transportation, health care, and the other sectors. 

Advocacy and Information Are Key 

Advocacy, as always, is paramount to getting much needed changes made! In last year’s post we shared some suggestions for becoming an effective advocate.  They include:  

  • Start with awareness of existing legislation
  • Find out about and attend transit advisory committees, planning commission meetings, city council and county commission meetings.  
  • Seek a position on advisory committees. Speak out. Vote. 
  • Get involved with consumer groups such as the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind.  
  • Learn to use technology to stay connected, informed, use transportation, gain access to needed supplies, and participate fully in today’s world. As many of have lived our lives on Zoom or similar platforms for the past year, the pandemic has demonstrated that learning to use technology is key. 

Where Are We Now? Another Survey! 

It’s time to find out what has happened in the last year for folks who are blind or visually impaired in terms of living everyday life as they navigated a pandemic. To that end, the American Foundation for the Blind is carrying out another survey, Journey Forward: Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic by Blind and Low Vision Adults to find out about how people with vision loss obtained COVID-19 data, information about testing, and vaccines. The survey also includes reporting on experiences during the pandemic related to transportation, healthcare, education, employment, and access to prescriptions, food, and supplies. Having this information will be enormously helpful to policy makers to help plan for any future pandemics or national disasters, especially related to people with disabilities. 

Those who complete the survey will have an opportunity to sign up for a gift card drawing. AFB will randomly select 20 individuals who will each receive a $20 Amazon gift card.  

The survey should be completed by August 9. 

Please share this information far and wide. It is critical to reach as many people as possible. 

Survey Link:  Journey Forward: Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic by Blind and Low Vision Adults