Idea in Practice

By Klotz, Mary Beth | National Association of School Psychologists. Communique, October 2010 | Go to article overview

Idea in Practice


Klotz, Mary Beth, National Association of School Psychologists. Communique


Americans with Disabilities Act: Advocates Mark 20th Anniversary

NASP recently participated in the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by witnessing Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) become the first member of Congress in a wheelchair to preside over the House of Representatives. Congressman Langevin, who in 2000 was the first quadriplegic elected to the House, used a newly installed mechanical lift system to gain access to the speaker's podium in his motorized wheelchair. President Obama later reflected on the ADA as legislation that provided "Equal access - to the classroom, the workplace, and the transportation required to get there. Equal opportunity - to live full and independent lives the way we choose. Not dependence - but independence. That's what the ADA was all about."

The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H. Bush - the first federal legislation designed to protect the civil rights people with disabilities. It established a national mandate for the elimination discrimination against individuals disabilities. Over the last 20 years, ADA has greatly expanded ties for individuals in the community reducing barriers, changing perceptions, and increasing participation in all aspects of community life, including education. The law has since been reauthorized, effective January 1, 2009, as the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act with changes that include expansions to the interpretive standards for the definition of disability.

Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act: Title II, III Regulations

Attorney General Eric Holder recently signed into law two final rules amending the Justice Department's regulations implementing Title II and Title III of the ADA. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by state and local government entities, which includes schools. Title III prohibits such discrimination by places of public accommodation and commercial facilities, such as restaurants and movie theaters. These final rules may affect accommodations for students with disabilities in several ways. They define service animals and note that they maybe used to assist individuals who have allergies and seizures, among other impairments. They also draw distinctions between wheelchairs and other mobility devices and adopt the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. These final rules will become effective 6 months after the date on which they were published in the Federal Register. See http:// www.ada.gov/regs2010/ADAregs2010 . …

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