Almost all childcare providers, regardless of size or number of employees, must comply with Title III of the ADA. Even small, home-based centers that may not have to follow some State laws are covered by Title III.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a disability is defined as "any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities...and interact with the world around them" (CDC n.p.).
It is important to remember that not all disabilities are readily observed, nor should any child--or any individual--should be labeled with a disability. The ADA does not discern the severity of a disability, but the presence of one. In addition, a short-lived condition such as the flu or a broken limb constitutes an inconvenience, but not a disability.
"Major life activities" are activities and/or tasks that occur in everyday life. Disabilities limit a person's ability to perform most of these activities on a regular basis and thus need accommodations and/or modifications to help them. Major life activities include, but not are restricted to, any of the following:
- Bodily functions (eating, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, sleeping)
- Motor functions (bending, lifting, standing, walking, performing physical tasks)
- Cognitive functions (communicating, concentrating, reading, thinking)
- Routine tasks (taking care of oneself)
Interested in learning more about Childcare and the ADA? Sign up today for ChildCareEd’s training course Access for All: Inclusion and the ADA and gain a clear knowledge of the ADA and appropriate methods of inclusion.