Answered Questions for June 2022: Learning About the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is I am new to the disability community and would like to know more about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Where can I learn more? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss the ADA National Network and its 10 regional centers; factsheets on ADA-related topics; post-secondary institutions and students with disabilities; the ADA, assistive technology, and employment; ADA-related guidance for small businesses; and more. More about Answered Questions.

NIDILRR-Funded Projects:

The ADA National Network (ADANN) (in English) supports implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), assisting people with disabilities, employers, business owners, government entities, and other stakeholders in understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law. The ADANN and its 10 regional centers (in English) engage in research and development activities related to the ADA. The ADANN coordinates outreach programs to underserved communities and provides information via publications such as factsheets, FAQs, videos, and more so that people with disabilities and their communities may learn more about their rights and responsibilities under the ADA. The Network also collaborates with the regional centers to create events, such as webinars and conferences, for people with disabilities, services providers, communities, and other interested stakeholders. Many of the Network’s publications are also available in Spanish.

From the NARIC Collection:

The NARIC Collection contains a variety of factsheets, articles, and other documents for people who are new to the ADA (in English). These documents cover a wide array of topics related to the ADA, including ballot drop box accessibility, caregivers and the ADA, communication in the correctional system, when and how to disclose a disability, addiction and recovery under the ADA, barriers and challenges to implementing the ADA, and more. Many of these factsheets and other documents are available in Spanish.

Research In Focus:

People with disabilities have long faced challenges in accessing the built environment, including public buildings, sidewalks, and public transportation. Laws such as Title II of the ADA require local governments to work towards redesigning public pathways so that they are fully accessible to people with disabilities. The article, Three Decades After the ADA, Many Local Governments May Still Not Have Strong Plans to Remove Pedestrian Access Barriers, discusses a study from the Great Lakes ADA Regional Center that looked at the ADA transition plans of a sample of local governments across the United States. Researchers found that many of the inventories did not include all relevant barriers in the pedestrian environment, such as curb ramps, sidewalks, and traffic signals. The authors noted that, even 30 years after the passage of the ADA, people with disabilities may remain limited in their ability to participate in their communities due to persistent access barriers. This article is also available in English.


The document, Postsecondary institutions and students with disabilities, from ADAKTC (in English) explains the legal obligations that postsecondary institutions have toward students with disabilities under the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The ADA covers both public and private institutions, while section 504 covers federally funded programs and services, and the FHA covers student housing and dormitories. This document is also available in English.


The article, Companies and People with Disabilities Use High Technology from ShareAmerica, discusses how the ADA requires businesses to update their facilities and processes to allow people with disabilities to perform any job for which they are qualified and how this law made it possible for millions of Americans to realize their potential in the workforce. The article discusses different types of accommodations that employees with disabilities may need to fulfill their work duties and how the technological advances since the ADA was passed have increased the accommodations that may be used to make employment more accessible. Finally, the article discusses how, as assistive technology continues to evolve, it continues to help deliver the promise of the ADA and empowering people with disabilities to contribute fully to the world around them, including in business.


The guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), The Americans with Disabilities Act: An Introduction for Small Businesses, provides guidance to small business about the ADA and the hiring of employees with disabilities. The guidance begins with a definition of the ADA, hiring rules before and after a job offer, how to obtain medical information from employees and what kind of information is allowed to be obtained, confidentiality, reasonable accommodations and undue charges, procedures for providing reasonable accommodations and the different types of reasonable accommodations, and more. The guidance also provides information on what to do if a current or past employee file a complaint against your small business.


  • NARIC’s FAQ, Are face masks policies covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?, offers a brief discussion on whether face masks policies, including those related to COVID-19, are covered under the ADA, reasons a person may be unable to wear a face mask, what people with disabilities should do if they are unable to wear a mask, different types of reasonable modifications/accommodations that businesses or agencies may offer, and more. This FAQ is also available in English.
  • The NIDILRR-funded Northeast ADA Regional Center has published an article, A History of Discrimination and the ADA, that defines discrimination; the laws that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities, and why these laws are important. The article describes the ADA and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the impact that these laws have had on the lives of people with disabilities, including their employment, education, and their participation in the community. Finally, the article provides resources to learn more about these laws. This article is also available in English.


  • NARIC’s searchable COVID-19 Special Collection includes publications about COVID-19, people with disabilities, and the ADA. NARIC staff actively collect resources published, presented, or curated by the NIDILRR grantee community that support the continued independence and participation of people with disabilities and their families, and the professionals who work with them. The collection is also available in English.


  • The ADA Regional Centers (in English), including the Northwest ADA Regional Center (in English), offer courses and webinars on various topics related to the ADA, including service animals and emotional support animals, recreation, employment, inclusion, and more. They also offer training on the ADA to organizations in their regions. Contact your region’s ADA Center to learn more about the trainings, courses, and webinars that they provide.

Further Research:




About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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