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Americans with Disabilities Act

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides protection from discrimination for individuals on the basis of disability. The ADA extends civil rights protection for people with disabilities to employment in the public and private sectors, transportation, public accommodations, services provided by state and local government, and telecommunications services. Besides physical access, the ADA mandates program access, which includes electronic media and web pages.


Who is considered a "Person with a Disability"?

According to the ADA, a “person with a disability” is defined as anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes but is not limited to:*

Concentrating, Speaking, Performing manual tasks, Breathing, Hearing, Walking, Learning, Seeing, Working, Caring for oneself, Sleeping, Standing, Lifting, Bending, Reading, Thinking, Communicating.

The definition also includes "invisible" disabilities, such as:

  • Psychological disabilities
  • Learning disabilities
  • Chronic health impairments, such as attention deficit disorder, epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cardiac problems, and HIV/AIDS.

*Definition updated to include revisions from the ADA Amendments Act, January 1, 2009.

U.S. Department of Justice-Americans with Disabilities Act

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 Last Modified 1/11/18