Student Health and Wellness

Disability Resources Center

Disability Law

The Amended Act of 2008 (ADAAA)

ADA Amendments Act of 2008 – (Public Law No: 110-325) (Sec. 4) (09/25/2008) Amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to redefine the term "disability," including by defining "major life activities" and "being regarded as having such an impairment."

Sets forth rules of construction regarding the definition of "disability," including that: (1) such term shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals under the Act; (2) an impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be a disability; (3) an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active; and (4) the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of specified mitigating measures.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Since its Initial enforcement in 1990 (Public law 101-336), ADA was enacted to “establish a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.”  The main idea behind ADA is that “no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded form participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity (42 U.S.C. 12132).

The Rehabilitation Act, Section 504:

Section 504 was enacted in 1973 (Public Law:  93-112) to ensure that “no otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of…disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation, or be subjected to discrimination under any program any activity receiving federal financial assistance” (29 U.S.C. 791).

The basic idea behind these two acts, and additional state laws, is that an educational institution should accommodate an otherwise qualifies student in order to ensure equal access to what is being provided to all students and equal opportunity to learn.

Notice of Disability

One very important aspect of the laws regarding students with disabilities in the post-secondary institution is that it is the students’ responsibility to give notice of disability to initiate accommodations;  this notice should be given to the appropriate offices of the institution which have been established to handle students’ with disabilities records and requests.  Until students identify themselves as students with a disability, they are not entitled to any accommodations.