July is Disability Pride Month

What initially began as a day of celebration in 1990, with the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, has become a month-long opportunity to recognize the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of people with disabilities. July 2015 marked the first official Disability Pride Month and the 25th anniversary of the ADA. Since then, cities across the country have recognized Disability Pride Month with parades and other events. The ARC of the United States, which advocates for people with intellectual disabilities, has published a list of cities that are hosting parades and events.,Disability%20Pride%20Parade%20in%202004

State Organizations Advocate for People with Physical Disabilities

Last month, we featured an article about South Carolina’s efforts to actively support the rights of people with disabilities. This month, our focus is on Wisconsin, where the Council on Physical Disabilities, created by the state legislature in 1989, advises and makes recommendations to state agencies on relevant legislation and promotes public awareness about the abilities of and barriers to people with physical disabilities. Membership on the Council is open to those individuals, organizations, professional associations, providers and others that want to improve the lives of people with physical disabilities.

The International Code Council Discusses the Benefits of Automatic Doors for Accessibility

Facility Executive published this article by a senior staff architect in Technical Services with the International Code Council. The article explores the updates to the 2024 international building code which became available in late Fall of 2023. AAADM actively contributed to IBC revisions that address power-operated doors at public entrances.

Website Focuses on Issues Related to Senior Living; Cites AAADM Guidelines

McKnights Senior Living website briefly features AAADM guidelines for the use of automatic door systems in resident rooms in senior living facilities.

Physical Accessibility in Educational Settings is an International Issue

According to the World Health Organization and the World Bank, an estimated one billion people have some type of disability. Of those, between 93 and 150 million are thought to be children. The Right to Education Initiative (RTE), a non-governmental international human rights organization, promotes and defends the right to education and recognizes that physically inaccessible school buildings prevent many children from going to school.

Tutorial on How to Open a Non-Automatic Door When in A Wheelchair

Many thanks to Tim Blanke for making me aware of online tutorials that show people in wheelchairs how to open doors. Many venues are difficult for wheelchair users to access because of the lack of automatic doors.

Advocates for People with Disabilities Are Active Around the Country

South Carolina is just one of many states that actively support the rights of people with disabilities. On April 16th, South Carolina held its 10th Annual Advocacy Day for Access & Independence. Held at the South Carolina State House, the event is supported by more than 50 organizations statewide.

Exploring the Benefits of Automated Access

Featured article in Smart Buildings magazine expounds on the benefits of automatic doors, including sustainability gains, equal access, ease and convenience, and health benefits.

United States Government Requirements for Automatic Doors

While the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 does not require automatic doors, the regulations promulgated by the government do have requirements regarding the use of automatic doors.,the%20same%20means%20of%20egress)

Beyond Entrances and Exits – What is Required for Automatic Doors offered tips on automatic door controls and restroom code compliance applications. As building codes continually evolve, security practitioners are urged to stay current.

Request Information – Government Entities Seek Guidance Related to Automatic Doors

Below is a link to just one example of how government entities go about soliciting information and bids for the installation of automatic doors. In this example from 2018, the Michael E. Debakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center requested information about automatic doors and subsequently issued an RFP based on the responses it received.

Link coming soon...

Michael E. Debakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center Seeks Preventive Maintenance and Repairs for Automatic Doors

This RFP was updated on April 14, 2924. The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration is seeking a contractor to provide preventive maintenance and repair services for this facility in Houston, Texas.

Automatic Doors Benefit All

The University of Kansas Life Span Institute is a network of more than 400 University of Kansas scientists, students and staff who are working to improve the health of individuals and communities through research, service and outreach. This post examines attitudinal, physical, policy and communication barriers to helping people with disabilities live their best lives. Accommodations for people with disabilities, according to this post, can increase accessibility for everyone and uses the example of automatic doors as enabling for "people carrying a heavy load or pushing a stroller."

National Park Service Presents a History of the Disability Rights Movement

A history of the disability rights movement provides insight into how people with disabilities fought for an accessible environment both socially and physically. In one telling example, people with disabilities ditched their wheelchairs, walkers and crutches to climb the steps of the Capitol. What has become known as the “Capitol Crawl” took place because of a delay in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and highlighted the daily struggles of people with disabilities because of physical barriers.

Accessibility in the Workplace – Meeting the Letter of the Law but Not the Needs of People with Disabilities

This article features an interesting discussion regarding employee concerns about access to their workplace. For example, one employer said, “This employee is saying our door is too heavy to open but it meets the guidelines.” Meeting the letter of the law (the ADA does not require automatic doors) often falls short of the real-world needs of people with disabilities as demonstrated in this article.

TED Talk Features a Person with a Disability Discussing Disability

This video has nothing to do with automatic doors but is enlightening in that it presents a point of view that is not often heard or considered.

Accessibility Standards Canada Offices Set the Standard

In 2022, the Accessibility Canada Standards offices welcomed employees into its revamped workplace that applies universal design principles and many accessibility features, including automatic doors. An excerpt from the video states "Automatic doors with push columns and sliding doors that open easily and close slowly eliminate the need to hold the door open. They also prevent doors from closing too quickly."

Many Colleges and Universities Remain Inaccessible to People with Disabilities

Despite the passage of the ADA and the tireless work of advocates for people with disabilities, many educational institutions remain inaccessible as evidenced by this list of complaints, lawsuits and settlements. And while many of the listed issues don’t relate to the need for automatic doors, many do. The issue may be that the ADA does not require automatic doors and unfortunately there has been no appetite within the community of people with disabilities or their advocates to amend the ADA to address this oversight.

Largest School District in the United States Required to Maintain Automatic Door Opener

This article demonstrates the need for regular maintenance of automatic doors or door openers to ensure that they remain safe and accessible for all. Even though the school installed an automatic door opener, it failed to promptly repair and maintain it.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Focuses on Physical Accessibility in Healthcare Facilities

Although CMS released this report in 2017, challenges remain in ensuring physical accessibility in a wide range of healthcare settings. The report found that one of the most pressing issues for people with disabilities is overcoming barriers to entering healthcare facilities, including inaccessible entrances.

The U.S. Department of Education Works to Protect Students with Disabilities

We have highlighted the lack of accessibility in schools throughout the United States in past posts. The U.S. Department of Education offers help for those students with disabilities facing barriers, whether physical or not, to educational opportunities in school districts throughout the country.

Making A Difference One Door at a Time

One man's efforts led to the installation of an automatic door that enabled him to do his job at a school in New Jersey. Cost was a consideration, but the school district went ahead and installed the automatic door.

Compliance with Accessible Canada Act (ACA) Falls Short

Six in 10 persons with disabilities met barriers when trying to access indoor and outdoor public spaces, according to Statistics Canada. Despite the passage of the ACA in 2019 which aims for creating a barrier-free Canada by 2040, 72 percent of persons with disabilities encountered one or more of 27 types of barriers to accessibility in 2022. Barriers related to entrances or exits and sidewalks were the most commonly reported obstacles. A report, which further explores the accessibility experiences of persons with disabilities in Canada will be released during National AccessAbility Week in May 2024.

National AccessAbility Week in Canada begins May 28, 2024

With the theme of “From Possibilities to Practice,” National AccessAbility Week will celebrate the contributions of persons with disabilities, the work of allies, organizations and communities that are removing barriers and ongoing efforts to become a more accessible and inclusive Canada. Opening the week will be the Canadian Congress on Disability Inclusion (open to Canadians) and will include participation by public and private organizations.

Automatic Doors in Senior Care Facilities Take Center Stage

This article discusses the unique benefits of automatic doors in senior care facilities. In case you didn’t see this article, it’s a great read as it references information provided by AAADM.

Accessibility Standards Canada Developing Accessibility Guidelines For the Built Environment

Development of standards for the built environment began in 2021 and are expected to be finalized in 2025. Areas of focus include but are not limited to building entrances, pathways, parking and loading zones, and power door operators.

States and Municipalities Adopting International Building Code (IBC) Provision Championed by People with Disabilities and AAADM Members

The provision, IBC 1105.1, says that buildings meeting defined occupant load thresholds must have one door be either a full power-operated door or a low-energy power-operated door. The Code is adopted at state and local levels and the following states and municipalities have included the new measure in their own codes. The list is just a sampling of those who have adopted IBC 1105.1.


New Hampshire



New Jersey

New Mexico Public Entrances.

New York

The City of Philadelphia

Washington (state)

Proposed Changes to Census Bureau’s Data Collection About the Number of People with Disabilities Alarms Disability Advocates

Controversy is brewing around potential changes to how the Census Bureau estimates the number of people with disabilities. Advocates suggest that potential revisions to the disability questions asked on the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey might negatively affect the U.S. government’s official statistics. This in turn, according to advocates, would make it harder to enforce legal protections against discrimination at school and work, among other concerns. The changes could also affect funding for accessible design solutions such as automatic doors. Based on the bureau’s testing in 2022, the share of people in the U.S. with any disability could shrink from 13.9% of the country to 8.1%. To learn more read the full story here

Supreme Court Punts on Question of Whether “Tester Plaintiffs” Can Sue If They Are Not Actually Harmed by Failure to Comply with the ADA

In December, the Supreme Court issued a ruling on the case involving an activist for the disabled community who describes herself as a “tester,” a person with a disability who searches either physically or online for businesses that do not comply with ADA requirements – and then sues them. The defendant in the case, an inn in Maine, argued that the plaintiff did not have standing to sue because she never planned to book a room and was not harmed. The plaintiff subsequently dropped the case and petitioned the Supreme Court to rule that the case was moot, which it did in December.

The decision, a 9-0 ruling, leaves open the question of whether “testers” have standing to sue. In most such cases, it is small businesses who are targeted and most settle with the plaintiff. Read the opinion here

Many New York City Public Schools Not Fully Accessible to People with Disabilities

Advocates for Children released a report that found that two-thirds of the city’s more than 1,400 school building are not fully accessible to people with disabilities. In the 2023 school year, 41% of school buildings were deemed not fully accessible or functionally inaccessible. Increased funding for accessibility improvements is critical. To learn more read

Potential Issues Related to People with Disabilities in the 2024 Elections

A recent article in Forbes discusses some examples of the long-term goals and current and potential risks and threats to the freedom, well-being and independence of people with disabilities. Organizations and individuals that advocate for the disabled community could raise any or all of these issues during the 2024 election. Whether these topics will have relevance for AAADM and its members remains to be seen. To learn more about what these issues and concerns are read the article here

Free Online Courses Discuss Federal Physical Accessibility Laws

There are four major federal laws that require accessibility in new construction or alterations to existing structures. They are the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Architectural Barriers Act, the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you would like to learn more about which laws apply to a project you may be working on, you can go here The courses are free.

Federal Law Requires Voting Accessibility for People with Disabilities and the Elderly

The law has been in effect since 1984 and yet many polling places remain physically inaccessible. The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act requires county boards of elections to “assure that all polling places for Federal elections are accessible to handicapped and elderly voters” with few exceptions. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, have enacted laws to ensure compliance with the Federal law. To learn more, read the Federal statute and Pennsylvania’s law.

Washington State Requires Certain Facilities to Have One Full Power- or Low-Energy Power-Operated Door

Effective in 2020, the rule expires in 2024. AAADM will monitor and support legislation that extends the rule beyond 2024.

Under the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, Post Offices Not Required to Provide Power-Operated Doors

Despite the fact that post offices are not required to provide accessible entrances, many people with disabilities have worked to get access to their local post offices. One such individual, Robert Fisher, worked for months to get access to his local post office. He succeeded but only after filing a complaint with his state’s civil rights commission and speaking with his local news station. AAADM’s own Len Pursell was instrumental in helping folks in Connecticut get an automatic door installed at a local post office there. It’s one of Len’s finest legacies. Check out Robert Fisher’s story here.

Universities Continue Their Push for Physical Access for Students with Disabilities

MIT, one of the foremost universities in the world installed an automatic door in an undergraduate teaching lab. Often overlooked, interior automatic doors are critical in providing true physical access for people with disabilities. Said John Dolhan, director of the Undergraduate Teaching Labs, “I just could not understand that in this new lab we were not required to put in at least one automatic door, so I kept this as one of my priorities.” Read the full story here

Many U.S. Post Offices Still Inaccessible For People with Disabilities

According to the U.S. Access Board, which investigates violations of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), most of the complaints it received in 2022 and 2023 related to access to post offices, including entrance doors, “particularly the opening force of manual doors, and customer parking.” Learn more here

Architectural Barriers at Polling Places Draw Department of Justice Scrutiny

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that state and local governmental entities that conduct elections may not select polling places that are inaccessible to individuals with disabilities for use during elections, and they must make reasonable modifications to ensure that voters with disabilities have equal opportunity to participate in voting programs. In one case, the Justice Department completed an agreement with a county board of elections to ensure that polling places are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Fisher House Foundation

Wounded veterans face many challenges. One challenge a veteran with physical limitations shouldn’t have to face is opening doors. To this end, AAADM members can help by seeking out places where automatic doors could make a huge difference. Fisher House Foundation builds homes, located at military and VA medical centers around the world, where military and veteran families can stay free of charge while a loved one is in the hospital. The homes feature a main entrance, living and dining areas and up to 21 suites. Homes are currently under construction in Florida, Tennessee and Texas and many more are planned for the future. Check it out!

International Day of Disabled Persons, December 3, 2023

With the International Day of Disabled Persons fast approaching, you and your place of business can help celebrate the unique contributions of people with disabilities. In this post, discover how to celebrate and support disabled employees in your workplace.

The Accessible Canada Act and the Supreme Court of Canada

The Accessible Canada Act, passed in 2019, and the Accessible Canada Regulations require that federal entities prepare and publish accessibility plans. Because the Act was passed only four years ago, some federal entities are currently preparing their accessibility plans.

One example is the Supreme Court of Canada which occupies a Heritage Building which will be undergoing major renovations in the coming years. Part of the rehab will include bringing the building up to code for accessibility purposes. More information about the Supreme Court’s planning can be found here:

Ensuring In-Person Voting Accessibility

Many in-person polling places are found in schools, fire houses, and township buildings which are often not easily accessible for persons with physical disabilities. While many of these places operate on shoe-string budgets, there are monies available in the way of grants from the federal government. With the 2024 election fast approaching, now is the time to apply for such grants.

Here are some links to help such entities find the resources to make their polling place more accessible.

Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS)

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools has developed a white paper on secure visitor entry. Today, ensuring school campuses and buildings are secure is a key concern for school officials. What role can automatic doors play in contributing to safer, easier and more secure access to school buildings? Read the white paper to understand the concerns of school officials.

Restaurant Access For Persons with Disabilities

In this article, one wheelchair user describes the frustrations he faces in dining out. To his dismay, many restaurants still do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And one of the first obstacles he faces is simply trying to enter the restaurant.

Often times, individuals with disabilities have to use a different entrance because the main entrance to a restaurant is inaccessible. This is disheartening not only for that individual but also for friends and family who may joining them.

Focus on Accessibility

Many states have established advisory committees that examine and provide advise on accessibility issues including physical barriers at building entrances and exits. New York’s committee is just one example.

The federal government, in addition to enforcement of the ADA through the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights, also provides additional insight.

Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization

The Accessible Canada Act established the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development organization (CASD). As part of its mandate, the CASD organization is developing standards for the built environment specifically focused on accessibility for federally-regulated entities as defined in the Accessible Canada Act. The standard encompasses building entrances, paths of travel, power door operators, assistive listening devices, signage, and controls.

A first draft of the standard was published in the fall of 2022 and was open to public comment. There will be a second public review in the spring of 2025. Here is a PDF of CAN-ASC-2.3 Model Standard for the Built Environment.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission

After extensive research and consultation with stakeholders, the Ontario Human Rights Commission issued its final report on difficulties students with disabilities face in pursuing their education. The Opportunity to Succeed: Achieving Barrier-free Education for Students with Disabilities found that the key barriers for equal access to educational opportunities in Ontario include inadequate funding, physical inaccessibility and a lack of understanding of the rights and responsibilities of all parties. The full report can be accessed here:


In Canada, the Accessible Canada Act was passed in 2019. Its goal is to realize a barrier-free Canada by 2040. A copy of the Act can be accessed at the link below. The Act created a standards board much like the ADA in the United States did.

In Ontario, every door that provides a barrier-free path of travel through a barrier-free entrance requires an automatic door operator. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act specifically addresses automatic doors.

State-Specific Laws Regarding Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Many states have promulgated laws that often go beyond the requirements specified in the ADA. The Massachusetts Office on Disability has compiled information on disability rights laws in a downloadable pdf format.

Available Funding for Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Commercial Buildings

The US Department of Energy and other federal, state and local entities may offer financial assistance and incentives for energy efficiency upgrades, including automatic doors.

Physical Accessibility at Educational Institutions

While the Americans with Disabilities Act has been in force for more than 30 years, many college campuses still present challenges for students with disabilities.

A 2020 government study found that many of America’s schools aren’t fully accessible for students with disabilities.

United States Government Accountability Office Report to Congress

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Automatic Doors

Persons with disabilities crave independence and automatic doors can help them achieve that independence. The ADA National Network provides some insight into the legal requirements for accessible entrances.

International Building Codes

In 2021, The International Code Council updated its automatic door requirements for accessibility. AAADM contributed to this effort.

The United States Department of Justice – Office of Civil Rights

This list of disability rights cases shows that despite passage of the ADA, ensuring accessibility for the disabled, whether physical or virtual, remains a top priority.