Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Youu have likely heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is an anti-discrimination law that ensures individuals with disabilities have equal access to businesses and other private and public entities. It also mandates that businesses and public and private entities make “reasonable accommodations” for persons with special needs. In general, this means that an effort must be made to remove obstacles that prevent individuals with disabilities from participating in a program or using facilities, so long as making accommodations does not impose an undue financial burden on the entity. The courts determine the question of whether an accommodation is reasonable when there is a dispute. In addition, the law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities with respect to employment.
The ADA was not enacted specifically for students with disabilities, but there are two ADA provisions that effect the education of students. First, the ADA makes it illegal for nonsectarian private schools, including preschools, to discriminate against children with disabilities unless they don’t otherwise meet entry requirements. Second, public schools are required to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities such as making existing facilities accessible, acquiring or modifying furniture, equipment, or devices, modifying examinations, or providing readers or interpreters.
ADA is also used to ensure that students with disabilities participate in extracurricular activities.