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Champions for Children with Disabilities

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African American businessman smiling, looking off to the side.

young man with Down Syndrome, working at a desk with a cup of coffee next to his keyboard.

The ADA: "Know Your Accommodations"

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:

Knowing Your Rights

Reasonable Accommodations

Minnesota Resources

  • 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

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