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At a Glance

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information

About ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act, enacted in 1990, provides civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. ADA’s purpose is to ensure that people with disabilities are granted equal access to employment, public services, public accommodation, transportation, and telecommunications.

Under the ADA, an individual with a disability must have a physical or psychological impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities, must have a record of such impairments, or must be regarded as having an impairment. The term "disability" includes conditions that are visible (such as mobility, vision, hearing or speech impairments), as well as hidden (such as learning disabilities, chronic health conditions, or mental illness).

One way UIndy strives to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access is by providing accommodations for qualified people with disabilities.

ADA Disability Definitions

A disability is defined as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, or working. “Substantially limited” generally means that a person is unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform. Mitigating or corrective measures such as medication or corrective lenses may be considered when determining whether a person is substantially limited. The ADA also prohibits discrimination against individuals who have a record or history of being substantially impaired and individuals who are regarded as having such impairments.

A physical impairment is defined by the ADA as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine.

A mental impairment is defined by the ADA as any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness and specific learning disabilities.

Temporary impairments of short duration (e.g., broken limbs, sprains, influenza, pregnancy, etc.), which have little or no long-term or permanent impact on major life activities, are excluded under the law.

At UIndy, a designated staff decides whether a student meets the definition of disability under the ADA requirements. Persons are not entitled to protection of the ADA simply because they have been diagnosed with a disability. The disability must substantially limit their ability to perform major life activities. Thus, this disability determination process is on a case-by-case basis. A college cannot set up predetermined categories of what types of disabilities will be accommodated and what types will not.

To help you understand the potential scope of covered disabilities, a non-exhaustive list of types of conditions that may be covered by the ADA includes:

  • Blindness (& partial blindness)
  • Deafness (& partial deafness)
  • Mobility Problems
  • Neurological Problems
  • Paralysis
  • Cancer
  • Seizures
  • Heart diseases
  • Chronic illnesses
Emotional / Mental
  • Age-Related Cognitive Decline
  • Autism
  • Depression
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Psychiatric disabilities
  • Recovered drug or alcohol addiction