Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendment Acts of 2008 and 2016 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
A “qualified person with a disability” is defined, as one who meets the requisite academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in the postsecondary institution’s programs and activities. The above laws protect the civil rights of individuals who are qualified to participate and who have disabilities such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Cerebral palsy
- Deafness or hearing loss
- Epilepsy or seizure disorders
- Developmental or Intellectual Disabilities
- Psychiatric Disabilities
- Orthopedic impairment
- Learning Disabilities (ADHD)
- Aspergers/Spectrum Disabilities
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Speech disorder
- Spinal cord or traumatic brain injury
- Blindness or visual impairments
- Chronic illnesses or Health Disabilities such as AIDS, arthritis, cancer, cardiac diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy,and so forth.
- Drug or alcohol addiction (Section 504 covers former users and those in recovery programs and not currently using drugs or alcohol)
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.