The American with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008 (ADAA) was a response to interpretations of the original test of the ADA. The ADAA clarified those views of the original legislation where they might be seen as limiting the rights of persons with disabilities. The ADAA:

  • makes changes to the definition of the term “disability,” clarifying and broadening that definition;
  • clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active;
  • changes the definition of “regarded as” so that it no longer requires evidence that the employer perceives the individual to be substantially limited in a major life activity, and instead states that an applicant or employee is to be “regarded as” disabled if the individual is subject to an action prohibited by the ADA based on an impairment that is not transitory and minor; and
  • provides that individuals covered only under the “regarded as” provision are not entitled to reasonable accommodation.

Moreover, the ADAA authorizes the right by a single individual to bring suit for discrimination based on disability against not only the University as a public entity, but also against the individual(s) responsible for the act of discrimination. In the classroom, the law requires that a faculty member adapt the course presentation to meet the unique needs of the student’s disabling condition.

The law also charges students with the responsibility to make their abilities and limitations known, and to meet, with or without accommodations, the faculty’s expectation in class participation, performance, and work standards. The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 are not designed to ensure equal result, but rather to ensure equal opportunities of access.

The American with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008 was signed into law on September 25, 2008, taking effect on January 1, 2009.

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