State and local governments must ensure that people with disabilities participate in program and activities even if buildings or facilities are not accessible. The public entities can provide access to programs by redesigning equipment, relocating the program to an accessible building or an accessible wing of an existing building, , providing the service in an individual's home, providing and aide or personal assistant, delivering the program or service at alternative accessible sites or altering existing facilities or equipment
State and local governments do not have to remove physical barriers such as stairs in all existing buildings, just as long as they make their programs accessible to those who cannot get up the stairs. For example, a city may offer its program at two locations with one location being one that is accessible to people who cannot climb stairs. A local government might move its public information office from the third floor to the first floor.
A state or local government cannot carry a person with a disability as a method of providing service in a building which is not accessible. Carrying a person with a disability is permitted in only the most extreme situations.
State and local governments do not have to do anything that would change the nature of the service, program or activity or would result in undue financial or administrative burdens. However they must take any other action, if available, that would not result in fundamental alteration or undue burdens, but would ensure access to individuals with disabilities.
People with disabilities cannot be segregated. Remember that the ADA is civil rights legislation!
Public agencies may not provide services or benefits to people with disabilities through programs that are separate or different unless the separate programs are necessary to ensure that the benefits or services are equally effective.
Even when separate programs are permitted, a person with a disability has the right to choose to participate in the regular program.
State and local governments may not require a person with a disability to accept a special accommodation or benefit if the person does not choose to accept it.
State and local governments must ensure effective communication with persons with disabilities.
People who have impairments of vision, hearing and speech may have difficulty communicating and public entities are required to provide alternative means of communication for them. There are many types of communication devices and usually a person with a disability has a preference for a particular method. For example, a person with a hearing impairment may prefer closed captioning rather than a sign language interpreter.
Primary consideration means that the public entities must honor the choice of communication expressed by the person with the disability unless the public entity can demonstrate that another equally effective means of communication is available or that the use of the method chosen by the individual with the disability would result in a fundamental alteration in the service, program or activity or would result in undue financial or administrative burdens.
When necessary, the public entity must provide auxiliary aids for person with disabilities who require help in communicating.
Auxiliary aids and services for people with hearing impairments include handwritten notes, qualified interpreters, assistive listening systems, computer-aided transcription services, open and closed captioning, decoders, and telecommunications devices for the hearing impaired (TDDs). Different localities have rules about certification of sign language interpreters. In the ADA, no certification is required. As a guide an effective sign language interpreter is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially (bringing a family member to interpret is not impartial), be receptive and expressive, and use necessary specialized language.
Auxiliary aids for people with visual impairments include readers, audio recordings, large print and Braille materials and ASCII diskettes
Auxiliary aids for people with speech impairments include text phones, computers, speech synthesizers, communication boards, and communication assistants.
State and local governments must ensure that telephone emergency services, including 911 can provide direct access to those with speech or hearing impairments.
State and local governments are not required to provide auxiliary aids in situations that would result in a fundamental alteration to the service or program or undue financial or administrative burdens. However the public entity must provide another auxiliary aid, if available, that does not result in fundamental alteration or undue burdens.
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