DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET
CHAPTER 2: DISABILITY LAW
AND ITS IMPACT ON EARLY
CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS
Jamal is four and has asthma. He is enrolled in a child care center that refused
to modify its medication administration policy to meet his medical needs. His
parents filed a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act, saying
that the center was discriminating against Jamal on the basis of his asthma.

A settlement agreement under the ADA required the center to adopt a new
asthma medication policy that did not exclude a child with an asthma-related
disability and to post the new policy where both families and staff members
could access it (Child Care Law Center 2011). Jamal was able to stay enrolled
in this program.

The Goal of Disability Law
Disability law is intended to help providers and families look at what is reasonable to meet
the needs of an individual child with a disability in order to include that child in a program
successfully. Disability law includes two types of laws: civil rights laws and entitlement
laws. Both types are considered when deciding reasonable accommodations for young
children. The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990. It is a civil rights law for
people with disabilities. It affects child care programs through its Title III, “Public Accom-
modations and Services Operated by Private Entities.” It applies to private child care
centers, preschools, and family child care homes not operated by religious entities. The
Department of Justice investigates complaints of discrimination under the ADA. Hundreds
of legal settlements have been made with child care programs across the United States
based on ADA rulings. Most rulings involve additional training for staff members, changes
to program policies, and sometimes monetary damages to families.

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