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Disability & Accessibility: Accessibility Law

This guide provides gathers resources for researching disability and accessibility across disciplines.

As you research, you'll see discussions of disability legislation. Read below for short overviews and additional information about relevant American laws.

American Accessibility Law

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA extends similar legal protections to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to disabled people. The ADA was updated in 2008 and covers employment, public entities, and public accommodations.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

IDEA was originally passed as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) in 1975. IDEA was reauthorized by the United States Congress in 1990 and the name changed. This act establishes that disabled people have the same right to education that non disabled people have under the law. Important ideas within IDEA include: Individualized Education Programs (IEP), Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

Telecommunications Act (Section 255)

Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires that wireless communication devices are accessible to people with disabilities. These devices include phones and computers. There are exceptions when accessibility is not "readily achievable" which is highly contextual.

The Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Act prohibits disability discrimination in Federal agencies, programs and employment. The Rehabilitation Act shares discrimination standards with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act requires housing facility owners to make reasonable exceptions in their policies to ensure people with disabilities have equal housing opportunities.

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