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What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by former president George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The Act was designed to specify civil right that American citizens classified as having disabilities would be protected by. The Act makes it a Federal crime to discriminate against someone due to the nature of his or her disability. In order for someone to be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one must first have verification of a disability that meets the definition set forth by the law.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was amended in 2008 to clarify the definition of a disability. The amendment did not change the original intent or purpose of the disabilities act, but rather clarified the meaning of the word disability. Disability rights, as provided to citizens were not affected by the amendment. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 addressed several areas of life where it would become illegal for someone to exhibit discrimination. These areas include employment, using public transportation and public entities, access to commercial facilities and public accommodations, telecommunications (such as in the area of Teletypewriters, Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, Telecommunications Relay Services, STS Relay, and Video Relay Service). Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects those who exercise their rights under the law from becoming victimized by retaliation.

Facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act offers protection for those with a confirmed, disability from losing rights and benefits they are entitled to, due to being disabled. Disability rights are protected by law, and those who have a documented physical or mental impairment that impacts their life, may not be turned down from employment, labor unions, housing, or denied access to public facilities due to their disability. It has been determined that those with disabilities have previously been unfairly discriminated against, making the ADA act one of the most powerful tools operating on behalf of a disabled American. The ADA also provides allowance for employed disabled individuals who must take time from work due to necessary health treatment or visits.

Summary of Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act is classified into five separate groups or titles. A Roman numeral designates each Title and the division is classified as Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, and Title V. Title I focuses on employment, Title II discusses Public Service, Title III examines accommodations for disabled individuals in public, Title IV focuses on the availability of telecommunications for disabled people and Title V focuses on ensuring that those who exercise their right to protection do not suffer retaliation. The ADA disability Act defines by law the definition of “disability” and the disabilities act is applicable to those who have a verified, designated, disability.

Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Transit Administration

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act focuses on transportation and how public services must ensure they provide adequate transportation for those who are disabled. This includes transportation services operated on both the state and local level. Those who have a disability must have access to transportation, whether it is public or provided through the state. Many state organizations provide special taxicab or bus services for those who are disabled. Likewise, public transportation may not deny service to someone due to his or her disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act 1990 Amended in 2008 (ADAAA)

In 2008, former president George Bush signed several amendments into law regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The amendments expand the types of activities that legally qualify as being “major life activities” that may be hindered due to a disability. The amendment also provides a clearer definition regarding the definition of disability. The amendment also added a new category to major life activities that may be hindered due to a disability: Major Bodily Functions. The inability to perform Major Life Functions is often used as evidence in whether or not someone is truly disabled. For someone to be disabled, they must have difficulty performing these major life functions and may exhibit signs of impairment in one of many major bodily functions.

Working with Students with Disabilities

Children with disabilities are at a disadvantage and may need to work harder to achieve his or her goals. It is in this setting that a thoughtful, caring and well-educated teacher may become a shining example of excellence in an otherwise darkened world. Students with disabilities need patience, time, someone who understands their needs, and an educator that is willing to institute various methods of instruction until finding the most effective teaching strategy. As every child and disability differs, teachers and caregivers may find that the same approach does not work for all students. When working with students or children with disabilities, it is imperative to keep an open mind, continue to research, and discover the latest innovative trends and teaching strategies used successfully by other educators.

Disabilities vary and may include Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD), blindness, deafness, brain injuries, physical injuries, Autism, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, learning disabilities and more. It is imperative that teachers and caregivers determine the exact type of disability students are dealing with to make certain they teach in the most effective manner possible. Science continually makes new breakthroughs and by staying up to date with various advancements, you may find there are techniques, tools, and even apparatuses that you may bring into the learning environment that will help advance a child’s understanding. Compassion and understanding will go a long way and whether a parent, teacher, caregiver, or someone desiring a position working with children and students with disabilities, it is of extreme importance that an educator has the skills needed to remain calm and demonstrate patience, during times of tension or frustration.

Those working with children with disabilities must remain educated and up to date on the topic. Networking with other parents, childcare givers, or professionals is an important way to stay up to date. Join groups, associations, and subscribe to plenty of reading material that will offer you inspiration, counsel, and guidance. Regardless of what disability a child is facing, communication is key. You must make certain that you have open communication with your student and this is first accomplished by building trust. By developing a trusting relationship with students, you can open the doorway to a child’s world and help him or her learn how to communicate with you, and then others more efficiently.


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