Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most fundamental law protecting the civil rights of people with all types of disabilities, including those with Autism. The ADA provides civil rights protections to people with Autism similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with Autism in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The law was amended in 2008 by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325) to restore the original intent of who is eligible.
The ADA does not contain a comprehensive list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities–instead, it is intentionally broad to accommodate changing circumstances and offers adaptability under the law. According to the ADA, an individual with a disability is someone who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. People who have a history of, or who are regarded as having, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities are covered by the ADA. Major life activities include caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks, and learning. Thus, many individuals with a diagnosis of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are protected under the ADA.