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Americans with Disabilities - ADA & ADAAA

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law prohibiting discrimination in private employment (for employers with over 15 employees), places of public accommodation (e.g., restaurants, theaters, doctors' offices), and state and local government services (e.g., public education, juvenile justice facilities).

This legislation from 1990 was updated with passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) in late 2008 and became effective on January 1, 2009. The law defines a person with a disability as an individual who is substantially limited in a major life activity. This means that a diagnosis of ADHD, by itself, does not necessarily guarantee protections under ADAAA.  However, this more recent legislation reversed a number of court rulings after 1990 which had placed limitations on the rights of persons with disabilities. For more information, CHADD's public policy page on the legislative history of this, as well as a helpful fact sheet on ADAAA.

Updated March 2010

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