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ERIC Number: EJ847479
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1554-4893
The Lay of the Law (An Occasional Note)
Crabtree, Robert K.
Journal of Early and Intensive Behavior Intervention, v5 n3 p67-70 2008
The Americans With Disabilities Act (the "ADA"), enacted by Congress in 1990, was greeted with great celebration by persons with disabilities, their families, and advocates. The idea was broadminded and straightforward: Congress intended that the ADA protect those with disabilities (including those who were simply perceived as having a disability) against discrimination because of their disabilities in access to jobs, education, commerce, entertainment and other benefits of public life. This year Congress rejected the courts' narrowing of the ADA's scope of protection and amended the Act to correct what it considered to be misinterpretations. The amendments take effect on January 1, 2009. The amendments make it clear that the ADA is to be applied liberally and broadly when courts consider whether an individual's impairment affects a major life activity sufficiently to warrant protection against discrimination. Individuals with autism--particularly milder forms of autism--and others with impairments of affect, behavior and/or social navigation, have sometimes been considered not to be "disabled" within the protections of the ADA because their impairments do not, in the reasoning of courts, sufficiently affect major life activities. The 2008 amendments should go far in reducing the obstacles these overly-narrow readings of the ADA would have placed in the path of a person suffering discrimination because of behavior arising out of autism, bipolar disorder, depression, and other conditions that impair their social navigation skills or ability to maintain a steady emotional course through a day. The disability community and its advocates will watch closely as the courts examine cases under the amended law, in hopes that the newly clarified commitment of Congress to the protection of those made vulnerable by their disabilities will actually be enforced. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Joseph Cautilli, Ph.D. & The Behavior Analyst Online Organization. 535 Queen Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147-3220. Tel: 215-462-6737; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Americans with Disabilities Act 1990; Individuals with Disabilities Education Act