Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act protects and considers a person disabled if he or she:
- has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such a person’s major life activities.
- has a record of such an impairment, or
- is regarded as having such an impairment
The ADA’s definition of a “person with a disability”:
- Anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, learning, and working.
One who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; removal of architectural communication or transportation barriers; or provision of auxiliary aids and services.
Includes modifications to the educational program, academic adjustments, and auxiliary aids so that the student with a disability is not “denied the benefits of, or excluded from participation in”, an educational program.
- Do Not lower standards or guarantee the success of the person receiving these services
- Do reduce the negative effects of the disability of receiving information and demonstrating course mastery
- Do Not reduce the student’s personal responsibility in learning the course material
In this way students with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to benefit from educational programs as their counterparts, non-disabled students’ experience.
Educational programs are not required to make program modifications, academic adjustments, which would fundamentally alter a program, or are an undue administrative financial burden.