Key Terminology

  • 1. Section 504: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabilities.

    The law states that no student with disabilities "shall, solely by reason of a disability be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." (29 USC 794)

    2. Individual with a Disability: Under Section 504 regulations, a person is "handicapped" if he or she:

    1. Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;
    2. Has a record of such an impairment; or
    3. Is regarded as having such an impairment

    (C.F.R. 104.3)

    3.Physical/Mental Impairment:

    1. 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 or
    2. Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

    (34 C.F.R. 104.3)

    4. Substantial Limitation: There is no clear definition in the law as to what constitutes a "substantial limitation", however, according to the definition set forth in the Title I ADA regulations:

    An impairment is a disability within the meaning of this section if it "substantially limits" the ability of an individual to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population.

    (74 Fed. Reg 48,440 (2009))

    5. Accommodations: Adaptations made by classroom teachers and other school staff to enable students with disabilities to benefit from their educational program.