Laws

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act was the first disability civil rights law to be enacted in the United States. It prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal financial assistance, and set the stage for enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Section 504 works together with the ADA and IDEA to protect children and adults with disabilities from exclusion, and unequal treatment in schools, jobs and the community.

DREDF Materials

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the most important piece of civil rights legislation for children with disabilities ever passed in this country. Prior to its passage in 1975, at least one million children with disabilities in the United States were denied any public education, and at least four million more were segregated from their non-disabled peers. IDEA is the primary federal law that governs Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and the special education process. IDEA guarantees children with disabilities a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). IDEA was reauthorized in 2004 and its implementing regulations were released in August 2006.

DREDF provides trainings on IDEA and related issues for parents and professionals through our federally-funded Parent Training and Information Center.

DREDF IDEA Articles, Papers and Analyses

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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by employers, public accommodations, state and local governments, public and private transportation, and in telecommunications. DREDF advocates for clients with ADA discrimination claims and represents them in court. We also provide training and education about the ADA, and work to strengthen the law through policy monitoring, development and advocacy.

To see specifics on what businesses must do to meet the requirements of the ADA see our Access Equals Opportunity page.

DREDF’s ADA cases and legal briefs.

For information about DREDF’s trainings on the ADA, go to Training and Education.

DREDF ADA Articles, Papers and Analyses: