This July we mark the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the landmark civil rights law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in the US. The ADA has become the model for similar laws around the world, ensuring that people with disabilities have equal access to employment, physical spaces, and public accommodations. Even though the ADA is in its third decade, many people may not be entirely sure who is protected under the law or what responsibilities they may have as a business, a municipal agency, or a service provider. The NIDILRR-funded ADA National Network has ten regional centers whose staff can help answer questions about the ADA and who and what it covers. These centers have also created resources to teach the basics of the law and get you started on learning how it may apply to you, your community, or your business. Here is a quick sample:
- ADA Basic Building Blocks from the Southeast ADA Regional Center is designed to provide the basic principles and core concepts of the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. By the end of the 12-topic course, you’ll be able to discuss the purpose of the law, identify the five titles, define the general nondiscrimination requirements, and more. The course is free. Continuing education credits are available for a fee.
- New England ADA Learning from the New England ADA Regional Center offers courses on Title I Employment Requirements, as well as an overview of disability rights laws, architectural accessibility laws, and fair housing and the ADA.
- ADA 101 from the Northeast ADA Regional Center is a webinar series intended for those new to the ADA and those in need of a “refresher.” The first two episodes have been posted. 101.1 Defining Disability explored the definition of disability under the ADA, its interpretation, and its meaning for individuals in different settings. 101.2 focused on employment and the reasonable accommodation process.
- ADA Video Series from the Rocky Mountain ADA Regional Center features Scout the Service Dog helping to explain various aspects of the ADA such as disclosing a disability, requesting accommodations, disability etiquette, and service animals in the workplace.
- Frequently Asked Questions from the ADA National Network features the top 13 questions that the regional centers respond to every day. They cover a wide range of topics including defining disability, how to file a complaint, standards for design or renovation, and service animals. The ADA National Network also offers publications in Spanish.
These are just a few examples of what the ADA National Network offers. Visit adata.org to find ADA training, lots of publications, and many online and in-person events. Your regional center can be reached toll-free at 800/949-4232 (4ADA).