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The impact of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” on engineering education

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4 Author(s)
Nunez, G. ; Florida Int. Univ., Miami, FL, USA ; Margulies-Eisner, T. ; Manheimer, P. ; Stinson, B.M.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law affecting an estimated 45 million Americans who, for different reasons and conditions, may fall under the category of persons with disabilities. The law has produced a major impact regarding the way that our society views and provides services to this segment of the population. While religious institutions, including those involved in higher education through universities, colleges, and programs are exempted from the ADA, almost all other public and private institutions must comply with the law that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and requires that special accommodations be made to integrate these individuals into the work place. Among other things, the law requires “modification of examinations, training materials, or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters and other similar accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities”. The impact on engineering education is enormous with ramifications to admissions policies, curricular structure, testing, accommodations of students and faculty, and many other matters of importance. This paper presents an overview of the ADA, its impact on engineering education, some guidelines for compliance, as well as some actual cases that illustrate some of the typical instances of “reasonable accommodations” that engineering programs need to consider

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 2 )