A civil rights law to prohibit discrimination solely on the basis of disability in employment, public services, and public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. It also mandates the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services.
WHO IS PROTECTED
Any individual with a disability who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities; or (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. Further, the person must be qualified for the program, service, or job.
RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE A FREE, APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION (FAPE)
ADA protections apply to nonsectarian private schools, but not to organizations or entities controlled by religious organizations. ADA provides additional protection in combination with actions brought under Section 504 and IDEA. Reasonable accommodations are required for eligible students with a disability to perform essential functions of the job. This applies to any part of the special education program that may be community-based and involve job training/placement.
FUNDING TO IMPLEMENT REQUIREMENTS
Limited tax credits may be available for removing architectural or transportation barriers. Also, many federal agencies provide grant funds to support training and to provide technical assistance to public and private institutions.
The ADA does not specify procedural safeguards related to special education; it does detail the administrative requirements, complaint procedures, and the consequences for noncompliance, related to both services and employment.
The ADA does not specify evaluation and placement procedures; it does specify provision of reasonable accommodations for eligible students across educational activities and settings. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to, redesigning equipment, assigning aides, providing written communication in alternative formats, modifying tests, redesigning services to accessible locations, altering existing facilities, and building new facilities.
The ADA does not delineate specific due process procedures. People with disabilities have the same remedies that are available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended in 1991. Thus, individuals who are discriminated against may file a complaint with the relevant federal agency or sue in federal court. Enforcement agencies encourage informal mediation and voluntary compliance.
Source document: Kelly Henderson, ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, Reston, VA. ED389142 June 1995, Overview of ADA, IDEA, and Section 504. ERIC Digest E537