Champions for Children with Disabilities
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A growing body of research highlights how important it is for students with disabilities to develop self-determination and self-advocacy skills before they leave school. To do this they need to be provided with opportunities to learn about their disability and how it affects them, understand the accommodations they need to be successful, express their accommodation needs in school and other settings, and know the basics of laws that address the rights of people with disabilities.
One of the most important laws for people with disabilities is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace, school and other settings. Although the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, an employee who requires accommodations in order to perform a job must disclose information about the disability and the need for specific accommodations to the employer in order to be protected by the law. That's why it is important that students develop the skills to do this effectively before they enter the workforce.
A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified individual with a disability to participate in the job application process and to perform the essential functions of a job. Reasonable accommodations are usually less expensive than people think. In most cases, an appropriate reasonable accommodation can be made without difficulty and at little or no cost. Examples of reasonable accommodations include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability; restructuring a job; modifying work schedules; acquiring or modifying equipment; providing qualified readers or interpreters; or modifying examinations, training, or other programs.
Disclosing Your Disability to an Employer:
Steps for Young People with Disabilities to Find Employment Success
Jóvenes con discapacidad: Pasos a seguir para tener éxito en el empleo
English and Spanish versions of an article containing tips for young people on disclosing their disabilities and requesting an accommodation from the Fall 2010 f Proyecto Visión newsletter.
- Youth and Disability Disclosure: The Role of Families and Advocates
- The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities
Knowing Your Rights
- The ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and the Job Interview
- ADA, Section 504 & Postsecondary Education
- The ADA and the Rights of Persons with HIV/AIDS To Obtain Occupational Training and State Licensing
- ADA and Transition
- The Rehabilitation Act and the ADA Connection
- Your Employment Rights as an Individual with a Disability, This factsheet from the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) explains how the Americans with Disabilities Act protects workers; it also explains how to file a complaint with the EEOC.
- Youth at Work, a Web site created by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC to help all youth learn what their rights are in the workplace, what constitutes employment discrimination, and what to do if discrimination has occurred
- ADA and the Olmstead Decision: A Mandate for Inclusion
- Accommodations Categories Chart (2004)
- Help Your Young Adult Learn About Accessing Accommodations After High School
- Ideas for Writing an Accommodation Request Letter (from JAN web site)
- Job Accommodation Network, Web site features searchable database of accommodations on the job for specific disabilities.
- Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in the Workplace and the ADA
- Minnesota AIDS Project, MAP offers a broad range of services to individuals who are HIV positive. These services include low-cost or free legal representation.
- ADA Minnesota, provides information, technical assistance and training to businesses, nonprofits and people with disabilities regarding the ADA.
- Minnesota Department of Human Rights, The MDHR is a state agency that also investigates complaints of disability discrimination. The MDHR was created by the passage of the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The Human Rights Act offers many of the same protections as the ADA.
National ADA Resources
- The ADA Collection, An extensive collection of ADA related documents and resources
- ADA Document Center
- ADA Technical Assistance Program
- Department of Justice ADA Home Page, More information on ADA enforcement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
- EEOC Field Offices, A state-by-state list of EEOC offices where you can file a disability-related complaint.