Schools Advised to Use Broadened Definition of Disabilities


The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently provided guidance on how elementary and secondary schools are affected by changes that broadened the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. The department advised school districts to protect the rights of all children with disabilities, including those who may not have been considered to have a disability in the past but who may now qualify as a student with a disability.

For example, the ADAAA guarantees that students can qualify for disability services even if they have a condition that affects them intermittently, such as a bipolar disorder. The ADA amendments also affect students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Additionally, school districts were advised to simplify the evaluation process for special education. More details on