What is a disability under the ADA?
Disability is defined as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, or working. “Substantially limited” generally means that the student is unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform. Mitigating or corrective measures such as medication, or corrective lenses may be considered when determining whether a person is substantially limited.
The ADA also prohibits discrimination against individuals who have a record or history of being substantially impaired and individuals who are regarded as having such impairments (e.g. an assumption is made the student is disabled when they are not.)
Persons are not entitled to the protection of the ADA simply because they have been diagnosed with a disability. The disability must substantially limit their ability to perform major life activities. Thus, this disability determination process is on a case-by-case basis, and appropriate accommodations may vary from student to student.
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