Accessibility Laws

The United States has several laws covering accessibility requirements for persons with disabilities, including those who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 – Public Law 111-260

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 – Public Law 111-260

Title I – Communications Access

Title II – Video Programming

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all services to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The ADA was built upon the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Unlike the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA has no requirement for an entity to receive federal funds. The ADA requires that reasonable accommodations be made to programs, activities and services except when to do so will cause undue hardship.


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The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that any organization receiving federal funds, directly or indirectly, must make their services accessible to people with disabilities.

Example: A deaf student who does not use sign language has been accepted to attend college. She requests CART services for communication access in her classes. The college receives federal student loans and is, therefore, bound by Section 504. As a recipient of federal funds, the college must provide CART or a service of equal quality to this deaf student. The student’s preferred method of communication must be considered when determining what accommodation to provide.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998, Section 508.

Section 508 was created to ensure that Internet services procured by federal agencies are equally-accessible to people with disabilities. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Website, accessibility applies to “Web applications, Web pages and all attached files.  It applies to intranet as well as public-facing Web pages.”

The requirement for accessibility on the Internet means that federal Web pages with videos and audio streams must be captioned.


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

The CRPD is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Parties to the Convention are required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. (Text lifted directly from Wikipedia).For more information:

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