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Assistive Technology Laws by: Family Center on Technology and Disability
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Public Law [42 USC 12101] ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the following areas: Employment State and Local Government Public Accommodations Commercial Facilities Transportation Telecommunications
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Public Law [42 USC 12101] The law is organized by section, or “Title” Title I – Employment Any employer who has 15 or more employees must offer “equal opportunity” to employment related activities Title II – State and Local Governments Insists that all people with disabilities must be given equal access to public education, employment, transportation, recreation, health care, and other areas under their control
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Public Law [42 USC 12101] Title III – Public Accommodations by Private Companies Public accommodations must be made by all private companies, including private schools, restaurants, stores, hotels, and doctors’ offices. Title IV – Assistive Technology All telephone companies must provide the necessary services to allow people who are deaf or hearing impaired to use telecommunication devices. For more information about ADA, visit:
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Public Law Originally passed in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), IDEA guarantees that eligible children and youth with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) Amended many times, most recently in 2004 For more information about IDEA, visit: For more information about IDEA, visit:
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act 29 USC § 794d Requires that all electronic and information technologies that are developed and used by any Federal government agency must be accessible to people with disabilities. These technologies include: Websites Video and audio materials Electronic books Televised programs Any other type of electronic media Does not apply to the private sector or to organizations that receive Federal funds. (It does, however, apply to materials developed by those organizations for the Federal government and funded by government agencies.) For more information, visit:
Assistive Technology Act of 1998 Public Law [29 USC 2201] Also known as the “Tech Act” Provides funds to states to support three types of programs: 1.Assistive technology (AT) demonstration centers, information centers, equipment loan facilities, referral services, and other consumer-oriented programs 2.Protection and advocacy services to help people with disabilities and their families, as they attempt to access the services for which they are eligible 3. Federal/state programs to provide low interest loans and other alternative interest loans and other alternative financing options to help people with financing options to help people with disabilities purchase needed assistive disabilities purchase needed assistive technology technology
Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act Amendments of 1998 P.L Section 1 (b) [20 USC 2302] Defines vocational technical education as organized educational programs offering sequences of courses directly related to preparing individuals for paid or unpaid employment in current or emerging occupations requiring other than a baccalaureate or advanced degree. Requires schools to: Integrate academic, vocational and technical training Increase the use of technology Provide professional development opportunities to staff Develop and implement evaluations of program quality Expand and modernize quality programs Link secondary and post-secondary vocational education Requires states to: Submit an annual report on how special populations, including persons living with disabilities, engaged in vocational education are faring relative to the state’s performance guidelines More information at:
Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988 Public Law [42 USC 3604] Addresses non-discrimination issues for potential tenants with disabilities. Makes it unlawful to deny housing to a renter/buyer because of a disability that the person may have. Mandates that reasonable exceptions to policies be made to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Allows tenants to make reasonable access-related modifications to property if necessary.
The Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990, Section 3 Public Law [47 USC 303(u)] All individuals who are deaf or have hearing impairments should have access to information and entertainment via television to the fullest extent possible through technology. Requires that all new televisions with at least a 13-inch screen have the built-in capacity to display closed- captioned TV transmissions. For more information, visit:
Telecommunications Act of 1996 Title I – Public Law [47 USC 255] Requires that telecommunications equipment and services be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Telecommunication products covered include: Wired and wireless telecommunication devices (telephones, cellular phones, pagers, and fax machines) Other products that have a telecommunication service capability such as computers with modems Equipment that carriers use to provide services, such as a phone company’s switching equipment Title II – Public Law [47 USC 613] Discusses rules concerning closed captions and video descriptions of video programming For more information about this law, visit:
Federal Government Procurement of Accessible Information Technology Public Law Section 408 [29 USC 794 (d)] Individuals with disabilities cannot be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service.
Workforce Investment Act of 1998 Public Law [29 USC 701] This law defines technology in the vocational rehabilitation process and mandates its use in job planning, acquisition and retention of people with disabilities. For more information about the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, see:
Additional Resources Family Center on Technology and Disability WrightsLaw National Disability Rights Network A Guide to Disability Rights Law – U.S. Department of Justice American Association of People with Disabilities Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Many states have their own Disability Law or Protection and Advocacy Organizations. Links to these sites can be found on the Family Center on Technology and Disability’s Website under Member Organizations.
Family Center on Technology and Disability Academy for Educational Development (AED) 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW 7 th Floor Washington, DC phone: (202) fax: (202)