Accommodating disabilities in classrooms

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The ADA standards are issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) and apply to facilities covered by the ADA in new construction and alterations.

DOJ’s standards apply to all facilities covered by the ADA, except public transportation facilities, which are subject to DOT’s standards.

Areas that contain a primary function include, but are not limited to, the dining area of a cafeteria, the meeting rooms in a conference center, as well as offices and other work areas in which the activities of the public entity using the facility are carried out.

(A) Mechanical rooms, boiler rooms, supply storage rooms, employee lounges or locker rooms, janitorial closets, entrances, and corridors are not areas containing a primary function.

(B) In choosing which accessible elements to provide, priority should be given to those elements that will provide the greatest access, in the following order— (1) An accessible entrance; (2) An accessible route to the altered area; (3) At least one accessible restroom for each sex or a single unisex restroom; (4) Accessible telephones; (5) Accessible drinking fountains; and (6) When possible, additional accessible elements such as parking, storage, and alarms. (A) The obligation to provide an accessible path of travel may not be evaded by performing a series of small alterations to the area served by a single path of travel if those alterations could have been performed as a single undertaking.

Adoption of the 2010 Standards also establishes a revised reference point for Title II entities that choose to make structural changes to existing facilities to meet their program accessibility requirements; and it establishes a similar reference for Title III entities undertaking readily achievable barrier removal.

Department of Justice ADA Standards (2010) DOJ's ADA standards (2010) became mandatory on March 15, 2012.

They include provisions that modify certain portions of Chapters 1-10, including provisions addressing the following areas: Department of Transportation ADA Standards for Transportation Facilities (2006) DOT’s ADA standards (2006) apply to facilities used by state and local governments to provide designated public transportation services, including bus stops and stations, and rail stations.

(iii) If providing accessibility in conformance with this section to individuals with certain disabilities (e.g., those who use wheelchairs) would be structurally impracticable, accessibility shall nonetheless be ensured to persons with other types of disabilities, (e.g., those who use crutches or who have sight, hearing, or mental impairments) in accordance with this section. (1) Each facility or part of a facility altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a public entity in a manner that affects or could affect the usability of the facility or part of the facility shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be altered in such manner that the altered portion of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if the alteration was commenced after January 26, 1992.

(2) The path of travel requirements of § 35.151(b)(4) shall apply only to alterations undertaken solely for purposes other than to meet the program accessibility requirements of § 35.150.

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