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U.S. Ammends the Americans with Disability Act (ADA)

Posted Oct 01 2008 5:08pm

Almost lost in all the discussions of $700B bailouts, president Bush today signed the ADAAA (lets hope they don’t have to amend that—the ADAAAAA ).

The Americans with Disabilities Act, as you might imagine, gives certain rights to people with disabilities. It’s what’s behind the 504 plans that some students have who don’t have IEP ’s (individual education plans). The ADA also applies to adults, say requiring accommodation in the workplace.

Unfortunately, since the original ADA was passed, court decisions have limited the scope of the ADA. Basically, the amended ADA attempts to restore the original intent of the ADA.

This means that the ADA will again apply to a broader group, likely including, for example, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV -AIDS...and, it looks like Aspergers and other of the so-called “mild” ASD ’s should get better protection.

Another way to look at this is part of the statement by COPAA (the Council of Parent Attorney Advocates) which stated,

First, the ADAAA overturns in large part the Supreme Court’s decision in Sutton v. United Airlines, which held that people with disabilities were not eligible under the ADA if their conditions could be mitigated by medication, assistive technology and equipment, or learned behavioral adaptations. The law also overturns Sutton’s holding that a disability must limit more than one major life activity. Moreover, the bill will clarify that major life activities include working, communicating, concentrating, thinking, reading, and other activities of central importance. Although Sutton arose in the ADA context, its holding was equally applicable to 504 cases, and thus, the override is made applicable to 504.

I need to look closer at this, but it really looks like a major, good event.

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