Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Idea in Practice

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Idea in Practice

Article excerpt

Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 became effective on January i, 2009. The Amendments Act broadens the interpretation of disability, aligning it with the intent of the original 1990 legislation. The Act also makes important changes to Section5O4 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that affects the meaning of the term "disability." The ADAAA restores the original definition of "substantially limited" meaning that an impairment need only result in a substantial limitation, rather than a severe restriction to a major life activity. The definition of "major life activities" was broadened to include for the first time learning, reading, concentrating, and thinking. Furthermore, the new amendments prohibit the use of "mitigating measures," such as medication for ADHD, books on tape, and other assistive technology, in evaluating whether a person has a disability, except for the use of eyeglasses or corrective lenses if they fully correct the vision problem. This change from prior law will make it much easier for a student with LD or ADHD to qualify as a person with a disability and receive accommodations; however, it must still be substantiated that the accommodations are necessary and reasonable.

Additional Resources on ADAAA and Section 504

National Center for Learning Disabilities, The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008: The Impact on Students with LD and AD/HD, an archived webinar, presented by Matt Cohen, JD, https:// ce. readytalk.com/cc/schedule/display .do?udc=1fgx6lbrqb4e3.

National Center for Learning Disabilities, Section 504 and IDEA Comparison Chart, http://www.ncld.org/content/ view/1127/527.

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities, http://www.ed.gov/ about/off ices/list/ocr/504faq.html.

Wrights Law, Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504 .adaaa.htm.

Homelessness and Students With Disabilities

Project Forum at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education published a policy brief outlining the educational barriers faced by homeless children and youth with disabilities and potential strategies to improve coordination of services and collaboration between special education and homeless education programs. The brief, entitled Homeless and Special Education Administrative Collaboration: Recommendations, synthesizes the issues into the following categories: overcoming problems caused by mobility, coordinating between school districts/service areas, determining where services are provided, serving the whole child within the school district or service area, and collecting and using data. …

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