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Introduction

In October 2004, the final stage of the landmark Disability Discrimination Act comes into force.

Passed in 1995, the bill's supporters said it was a cultural change in how society thinks about disabilities - defining the environment and public attitudes as the obstacle to participation, rather than the disability itself.

Since then, the Act's key provisions have been come into force in stages to allow different aspects of society to prepare for the changes required:

  • In December 1996 it became unlawful to treat disabled people less favourably for reasons relating to their condition.

  • From October 1999, businesses and organisations had to start making reasonable adjustments to ensure people with disabilities could access their services

  • From October 2004, businesses and organisations are required to make reasonable physical adjustments to their premises.

    The Act does not set out what constitutes a reasonable adjustment. But, combined with other legislation, British society is changing.

    Click on each section above to see what the changes mean for different aspects of life.

    The photographs throughout are of athletes at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

  • GB's Peter Norfolk in the men's doubles final in which he and team-mate Mark Ecclestone won silver
    GB's silver medallist Peter Norfolk in the men's doubles final at the Athens Paralympics
    Almost ten million people in the UK have a disability, that's 17% of the population

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