Public Law 101-336 [42 USC 12101] The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. The law has four sections, or “Titles”. Title I addresses employment, saying that any employer who has 15 or more employees must offer “equal opportunity” to employment-related activities. Title II applies to state and local governments, and insists that people with disabilities be given equal access to public education, employment, transportation, recreation, health care, and other areas under their control. Title III addresses public accommodations that may be provided by private companies, including private schools, restaurants, stores, hotels, doctors’ offices, etc. Title IV addresses assistive technology specifically, as it requires that telephone companies provide the necessary services to allow people who are deaf or hearing impaired to use telecommunications devices.
Assistive technology (AT) can be defined as any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. (29 U.S.C. Sec 2202(2)).
There are many advantages to including assistive technologies in the classroom. These devices can help students feel more secure in their learning, educational goals can be enhanced, and assistive technologies help support the entire learning experience as well. Assistive technologies also give teachers more resources for teaching students and addressing individual learning styles. Learning becomes a possibility when students with disabilities have access to assistive technologies.