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The ADA and IDEA Basics: Inclusion of Children with Disabilities

by Mona Motwani
March/April 2007
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-ada-and-idea-basics-inclusion-of-children-with-disabilities/5017414/

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that was passed in 1990 with the aim of securing equal rights for persons with disabilities in the employment, housing, government, transportation, and public accommodations contexts. The ADA was passed in an effort to provide equal opportunities to people with disabilities.

The ADA applies to almost all child care settings. Even before describing how this law applies to child care, it is important to understand why inclusion of children with disabilities in the child care setting is important. Child care settings are like a microcosm of society; therefore, integrating typically developing children with children with disabilities at a young age benefits all children and promotes tolerance and diversity.

Definition of disability

Under the ADA, a child with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the child's ability to care for herself or himself, perform manual tasks, or engage in any other "major life activity," such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, or learning, in an age-appropriate manner. However, a child that has a diagnosis of a condition is not automatically covered by the ADA — each child requires an individualized assessment ...

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