Section 504 And The Americans With Disabilities Act

899 words - 4 pages

Over forty million Americans are disabled, whether it is a physical, sensory, cognitive, or mental disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was signed into law in 1973. This law states that no handicapped individual shall be disqualified from partaking, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program receiving federal financial assistance. The foundation of the Section 504 is from the language of preceding civil rights laws that sheltered women and minorities. Section recognizes that history proves that humanity has treated people with disabilities as second-class citizens based on previous stereotypes. These types of attitudes have translated into policies based on paternalism. Section has acknowledged the discrimination of many children and adults. Senator Hubert Humphrey, who supported the Section, has said, “The time has come to firmly establish the right of disabled Americans to dignity of self-respect as equal and contributing members of society and to end the virtual isolation of millions of children and adults.” (Smith, 2001) In all, Section 504 has significantly altered the common and legal perception of civilization.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is probably the most comprehensible formulation of disabled individuals’ rights. The ADA officially became a law July 26, 1990 signed by President Bush. To understand the impact of the ADA, one must understand that almost every individual or family is touched by an experience of disability at one time or another. The necessities for state and local government, transportation, employment, and telecommunications can latently benefit everyone. An important point to understand is unlike people who have experienced discrimination based on creed, color, age, or sex; the disabled have, more than often, not had legal recourse to redress such discrimination. I believe the main point for the evolution of the ADA is the continuous unfair and superfluous discrimination denies the disabled an equal opportunity to pursue the opportunities our society may offer and the desire to correct this unjust discrimination.
Section 504 and the ADA use three descriptions to define who is covered under the legislation. Type one is a person that has a physical or mental impairment that limits them through at least one essential life activity. Type two is a person that has a history of mental or physical issues. Type three is covered as a person that is seems to have a mental or physical impairment. A physical impairment is defined as a physiological condition, cosmetic deformity, or an anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems. Epilepsy, cerebral palsy, cancer, and hemophilia are all examples of physical impairments. A mental impairment is defined as anything that is psychological such as a specific learning disability or mental retardation like ADD or drug or alcohol addictions. Therefore, any person that is listed under any of the above-mentioned...

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