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Under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the definition of a disability is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being recognized as having such an impairment. Mitigating measures such as medications may not be taken into account. The 2008 Amendments Act returned the focus of the ADA to where it was meant to be – discrimination against persons with disabilities.
An accommodation is a modification to a program, task or event that allows an individual with a disability to participate fully. To ensure equal access, accommodations must be effective in meeting the needs of the individual. Accommodations must also be reasonable—that is, not only must the accommodation be feasible, but it may not present an undue hardship to the institution: i.e., accommodations may not be unduly costly or substantially disruptive, nor may they fundamentally alter the nature of an academic program (for students). An accommodation may not include any reduction in academic program standards.
The report generated by the professional who has evaluated an individual’s disability, providing the official basis of the student’s claim that he or she is a person with a disabling condition. While the law allows the college or university to request such documentation, proof of a disability is not required for many requests for accommodation.