Justice and Education Departments Issue Guidance on Effective Communication in Schools

From the US Access Board

US Access Board logoThe Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Education (ED) have issued joint guidance on providing effective communication for students with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504). This guidance, which includes frequently asked questions and a fact sheet, is intended to help schools, parents, students and others understand their obligations and rights under these laws.

IDEA requires schools to provide a free and appropriate public education consisting of special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in the public and private sectors and includes requirements for public schools and other covered entities to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective means of communication for people with disabilities. The new guidance explains these requirements and how they can be met in order to achieve effective communication for students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities. It also highlights differences between these laws and notes that certain auxiliary aids or services may be necessary to satisfy the ADA even though they are not required by the IDEA.