The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all places that are open to the public.  The object of this law is to make sure that individuals with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.  The ADA is divided into five "titles" (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.  Title II of the ADA applies to public school districts, colleges, and universities because they receive some form of federal financial assistance.

In order to be protected by Section 504 and/or the ADA, a person must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  A person is also protected by the ADA if he or she has a history or record of a physical or mental impairment, or he or she is perceived by others as having such an impairment.  A qualified employee or applicant for employment with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodations, can perform the essential function of the job in question.

* The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.