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ADA, 504, and IDEA

If you are an educational institution, there are three major laws relating to digital accessibility that you need to know about:

  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Let’s explore some of the key differences between the laws.

ADA, 504, and IDEA icons next to each otherThe ADA applies to public entities, which is defined as “State or local government and any of its departments, agencies, or other instrumentalities.” Section 504 also applies to public entities, but only those that receive federal funding. IDEA does not require a school to receive federal funding, but only applies to K-12 schools.

Another key difference between the laws is the responsibility to identify students with disabilities. For the ADA and Section 504, students or parents have to come forward and request accommodation. However, for IDEA, it is the school’s responsibility to identify those whose disabilities affect their education.

With IDEA, once a student is identified as requiring special education, the school must put together an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to meet that student’s specific needs. For the ADA and Section 504, accommodations need to be provided for the student, which may include auxiliary aids such as screen readers.

Both the ADA and Section 504 have the same definition for disabilities, which is fairly broad. A disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” IDEA, on the other hand, has an enumerated list of disabilities that qualify students for special education.

Want to learn more?

Access the resources from our free, on-demand webinar:

Don’t Fear the OCR: Digital Accessibility for Education

Our Education Account Managers walk you through things that your school should know:

  •  Common complaints that persons with disabilities may have about your website
  •  Digital accessibility laws that pertain to educational institutions
  •  What you should do when you get a complaint letter

Access the webinar resources now!