The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).

Overview

People who have vision, hearing, or speech disabilities (“communication disabilities”) use different ways to communicate. For example, people who are blind may give and receive information audibly rather than in writing and people who are deaf may give and receive information through writing or sign language rather than through speech.

The ADA requires that title II entities (State and local governments) and title III entities (businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public) communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities. The goal is to ensure that communication with people with these disabilities is equally effective as communication with people without disabilities.

This publication is designed to help Title II and Title III entities (“covered entities”) understand how the rules for effective communication, including rules that went into effect on March 15, 2011, apply to them.

The purpose of the effective communication rules is to ensure that the person with a vision, hearing, or speech disability can communicate with, receive information from, and convey information to, the covered entity. Covered entities must provide auxiliary aids and services when needed to communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities.

The key to communicating effectively is to consider the nature, length, complexity, and context of the communication and the person’s normal method(s) of communication. The rules apply to communicating with the person who is receiving the covered entity’s goods or services, as well as with that person’s parent, spouse, or companion in appropriate circumstances.

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