By Blaise Sewell
Northern Star (Northern Illinois U.)
(U-WIRE) DEKALB, Ill. – In the United States, people with disabilities have faced social and physical barriers for decades. Local groups continue to fight to end negative perceptions and raise awareness of their abilities.
Fifteen years ago, the federal law, Americans with Disabilities Act, made it a violation to discriminate against any person with a disability. Since, the employment rates for those with disabilities has not moved from 70 percent, according to a Harris survey.
Joanne Messina, a visiting assistant psychology professor at Northern Illinois University, is attempting to squash this statistic by working with the disabled to find jobs. She has helped by arranging personal care assistants and educating employers.
“There is a lot of new equipment and technology improving accessibility,” Messina said. “We have computer access that we didn’t have before.”
Also, Messina defended employers, saying some don’t understand the process.