Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The law also prohibits retaliation for asserting the right not to be discriminated against.

Which children are covered?

The standard is the same as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or other parts of the ADA (although factors to take into account are different than in the employment area).

What schools are covered?

All public and private schools and day care centers except those run by religious institutions.

What must the school provide?

The school must not discriminate against a child with a disability and is required to make reasonable changes in its practices and policies to avoid discrimination and to afford children with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate unless doing so would impose an "undue burden."

Process Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

  1. Determine eligibility
  2. If problems, then:
    • Educate
    • Negotiate
    • If the school receives federal funds, parents/guardians can either file a complaint with Office of Civil Rights (as with claims under Section 504) or file a lawsuit directly in court.
    • If the school doesn't receive federal funds, parents/guardians can either file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice or file a lawsuit directly in court.

Protections for Parents/Guardians

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects parents/guardians against being fired and other adverse employment actions taken because of their child's disability. Usually, this law does not provide for leave to care for a child or to attend meetings or hearings, but the employer may not treat an employee differently because his or her child has a disability. Therefore, if paid or unpaid leave is provided for other personal or family reasons, the employer cannot deny similar leave just because the employee needs the time for reasons related to a child's disability.

Note:  The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) broadens coverage for children with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The ADAAA went into effect January 1, 2009.
See ADAAA link below.

State anti-discrimination laws

States also have anti-discrimination laws that may provide additional protections for students with diabetes. Some, for example, have much more extensive definitions of who is covered by the law.

Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA, previously known as the Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration Act) is a law that was signed by President Bush on September 25, 2008.

It amends the Americans with Disabilities Act and restores the original intent of Congress when it drafted the law in 1990 with regard to who is protected from discrimination on the basis of disability. The law also amends the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in the same manner.

The ADAAA went into effect January 1, 2009. Read more about ADAAA.

  • Last Reviewed: September 20, 2013
  • Last Edited: October 8, 2013

Articles from Diabetes Forecast® magazine:

Diabetes Forecast