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Students and Young Adults

My Disability Rights

As a young person with a disability, you have the same rights as a young person who does not have a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are two of the federal laws that protect your right to participate in sports, to keep your private information private, to vote for elected officials, to travel, and more! To start learning about your rights, and the laws that protect your rights, watch the videos in the collection below.

Let’s Talk About Disability Rights

Sports are for Everyone: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Emily is a young woman with dwarfism who dreams of competing in the Paralympics in track and field. In this video, Emily talks about how Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects her right to compete on her high school track and field team. (4 min)

Student Privacy 101: FERPA for Parents and Students

Do you have questions about how the privacy of your school records is protected? By the time you graduate from high school, your school records include a lot of information about you, including your grades, educational needs you have because of your disability, and disciplinary actions (like suspensions and expulsions). This short video uses simple drawings and easy-to-understand language to explain how the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects your right to keep your school records private. (4 min)

Disability Vote

Larry, Noah, Ivanova, Ladd, Jezzy, and Rachel are all young people with disabilities, and they are all excited about exercising their right to vote. If you are thinking about voting, you may have lots of questions about it, like: Why vote? What can my vote change? What if I don’t know how to vote? Watch this video to hear what these young voters with disabilities have to say about it! (4 min)

A Preflight Announcement with Noah Seidel

Noah is a young person with a disability who uses a wheelchair, and he flies a lot. Dorian, Nathan, Noah, Ziggy, and Grady are other air travelers who also use wheelchairs. In this video, they talk about the troubles they have had with their wheelchairs getting broken or damaged in flight by airline staff. Noah also talks about the Air Carrier Access Act, and how it protects the rights of people with disabilities to travel by plane. (4 min)

“Lead On” - Americans with Disabilities Act 23 years later

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, and protects their rights to the same opportunities as everyone else. In 2013, a group of young people with disabilities made this video to share their own experiences of how the ADA has empowered them in their lives, and to talk about what changes they wish the ADA will make possible in the future. (4 min)

Additional Resources

Disability History Timeline from the National Consortium on Leadership & Disability for Youth
The history of people with disabilities is a very important part of the history of this country.  The disability rights movement in the United States has fought for great changes in our society over many, many years, because every person belongs.  Are you curious about your disability history?  Explore this timeline from the 1700s to the present.

The ADA, Section 504 & Postsecondary Education
As you prepare for the transition from high school to college or a specialized career or technical training program, it is important to understand the rights that students with disabilities have under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  If you want to learn more, the questions and answers in this handout are a great place to start!

Minnesota Association of Centers for Independent Living
Independent living means having personal control over the decisions that are made about your life, including where you live, what kind of work you do, how you get involved in your community, and what you do with your free time. Minnesota is home to 8 Centers for Independent Living. All of them are managed and staffed by people with disabilities who already have experience with independent living, and they can help you learn more about it. Find your local Center for Independent Living today at the map on this website. Ask about what services and activities they offer to students like you, on the journey to becoming an adult, and learning about your disability rights!