Office of Disability Services
Glossary of Terms via the ADA
Person with a Disability: A person with a physical, neurological, or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Physical Impairment: Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems; neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary, hemi, lymphatic, skin or endocrine.
Mental Impairment: Any psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and traumatic brain injuries.
Learning Disability: A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.
Substantially Limits means unable to perform a major life activity, or is significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person or to most people; the availability of some mitigating measure (such as a hearing aid) is not to be considered when determining if the disability substantially limits the individual.
Major Life Activity means functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Individuals Who Are Current Illegal Users of Drugs are not protected under the ADA; however, addiction is considered a disability. Therefore, a person who is addicted to drugs but is not actively using drugs is considered a person with a disability and is protected by law.
Qualified individual with a disability: “An individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable modifications, meets the essential eligibility requirements (e.g., any academic and/or technical standards required for admission or participation in the educational program or activity) for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity”.
Accommodation: An adaptation, designed to help the student display knowledge around the learning barriers caused by the disability.
Auxiliary Aids and Services may include but are not limited to note-takers, readers, braille or large print materials, and mobility training for students with visual impairments; sign language interpreters, real time captioning, and note-takers for students who are deaf or hearing impaired; and typists and scribes for students with manual impairments. (This is not an exhaustive list.) Devices or services of a personal nature such as personal attendants, individually prescribed devices, or readers for personal use or study are not provided.
Service Animals: The mandate to make reasonable modifications in policies includes the general necessity of altering existing rules to allow for the presence of service animals. A service animal is a dog or other approved animal that is individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a service animal has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service animals must have a documented certificate of training on file in the Office of Disability Services.