Legislation

During the past decade, several pieces of legislation have served to expand the rehabilitation options and societal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 set a precedent for legislative support regarding the rights of individuals with a disability. The act prohibits discrimination of qualified individuals with disabilities from federally funded programs. Therefore, programs receiving federal money are required to make reasonable accommodations in order that individuals with a disability may participate.

In 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was implemented to ensure that children with disabilities have the right to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Prior to its implementation, the rehabilitation or education of children with disabilities primarily occurred in state institutions. Today, the law supports individualized goal planning, written in collaboration with the family and educational staff, supporting a child's full participation in family, school, and community life. Children with disabilities therefore have the right to fully participate with their peers in school-related educational, sport, and recreational activities.

A third piece of legislation, the Americans with Disabilities Act, was implemented in 1990 to ensure environmental accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The law mandates that public or private facilities receiving federal financial support eliminate architectural barriers for public transportation and new facility construction as well as guarantee reasonable accommodations in all aspects of employment. Therefore, these laws have progressively opened doors for enhanced career and recreational opportunities for all individuals with disabilities.

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