Breaking Down Laws Applicable to CART
In a world where laws of every sort govern our daily lives, it can be confusing to determine the differences between them. When dealing with a profession and service like CART, where the consumers, who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, are considered disabled by the government, even more laws apply. From ADA to IDEA, both the CART provider and consumer are faced with a multitude of provisions and restrictions.
In an effort to beak down some of these confusing regulations, following is a quick review of some of the major laws that can affect communication access. We will investigate items such as the requirements in the law, definitions included in the law, who is covered, and what kind of services they provide, all for the purpose of developing a clearer understanding of what each one means for CART.
1973 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that any agency, school or institution receiving federal financial assistance provide persons with disabilities an opportunity to be fully integrated into the mainstream. However, the institution will receive no additional financial support to provide auxiliary services or aids.
This law defines persons with disabilities as individuals who have a physical impairment that limits one or more major life activities or a person who is regarded as having an impairment, which qualifies the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
Its aim is to protect all persons with a disability from discrimination in education based solely on disability and eliminate barriers that would prevent a student from full participation in programs or services offered to the general school population.
Persons with disabilities are allowed placement in regular classrooms with support services, such as CART, to eradicate any barriers to the complete educational experience.
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA was enacted in July 1990 and gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. An accommodation plan is developed with the individual, who is then placed in mainstream environments with any reasonable accommodation needed to provide full access. This law covers a broad range of issues - from wheelchair access to employment and housing issues to information access.
In addition, Title II of the ADA clarifies the requirements of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for public transportation systems that receive federal financial assistance, and extends coverage to all public entities that provide public transportation, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a school or work environment that will enable a qualified student or employee with a disability to participate or to perform essential functions.
It is the right of every deaf or hard-of-hearing individual to receive these services at school, in the workplace and certain specified meeting places unless the cost to provide such services is unduly burdensome. Challenges remain, however. While doctors and hospitals are required by law to provide CART assistance, they are reluctant to do so because at this time they are not compensated by insurance carriers for costs associated with this service.
1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA)
New IDEA legislation was signed into law in 1997. The language requires educational institutions to provide a free, appropriate, public education to people with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. A local educational agency is eligible for assistance under IDEA if it has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the state educational agency that it meets each of the required conditions.
The new law is designed to remove financial incentives for placing children with disabilities in separate settings when they could be served in a regular classroom. In addition, regular classroom teachers will be included in meetings when the academic goals of children with disabilities are set.
IDEA also eases some of the restrictions on how IDEA funding can be used for children served in regular classrooms. Specifically, such funds can be used for providing services to children with disabilities in regular classroom settings even if non-disabled children benefit as well. An example of this could be if the CART provider was projecting the transcript on a larger scale than a laptop monitor.
Under IDEA, each student has an Individual Education Program (IEP), which is created by a team consisting of the parent(s), at least one of the student's regular teachers, a representative of the public agency, an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, and at the discretion of the parent or the agency other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student, including related service personnel (such as the CART provider), and, if appropriate, the student.
The team works to determine such things as the student's current level of academic performance, measurable annual goals, what services will be provided for the student, what activities the student can and cannot participate in with the regular class, the date which the services will be provided along with frequency, location, and duration of the services, and the progress of the disabled child, and how the parent(s) will be informed of the child's progress.If the team has determined that the child will receive CART, the IEP should include the following specifics regarding the provision of this service:
* CART will be provided by a realtime court reporter who can write at a minimum speed of 225 words per minute.
* An electronic copy of the notes will be given to the student immediately after each class so the student can make his or her own notes at home.
* Same-day substitutes will be provided when needed.
* The student will be allowed to follow the CART feed on a laptop computer on his or her desk.
1998 Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 508)
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily.
Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals.
Under Section 508, federal agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others. For example, a recorded or live transmission sent from an agency over its Internet site would require a text version for people with hearing loss.
CART would be considered a reasonable accommodation to receive communication access under all these laws. In most cases, either the school or other institution subsidizes costs incurred to the consumer to ensure that full and effective access is available. There is sure to be future legislation incorporating the use of CART for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in daily activities. For more information on these laws, please visit: