If you are a child or adult experiencing dysgraphia, there are several laws in place to help you receive the additional help in school, the workplace, or in your everyday life that you may need. The following is a summary of current laws and legislation, and how they may relate to an individual with dysgraphia:
· IDEA: INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT of 1990 and 1998
All students with disabilities, including dysgraphia, are entitled to a free public education appropriate to their needs. They should be educated in the least restrictive environment possible, with supplementary services provided, such as assistive technology devices. Students who are perceived as having difficulty with schoolwork must have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) prepared for them annually by a team which includes the parents of the student. If assistive technologies or technology access to the curriculum is needed, the IEP must address that topic. Some items, which may be appropriate assistive technologies for a dysgraphic student, are specialized writing instruments, writing surfaces, keyboards, or computer software. If assistive technologies are denied, the rationale for the denial must be specified and may be appealed.
· ADA: AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
This act provides civil rights protection against discrimination for individuals with
disabilities, just as the Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, nationality, and religion. Parents and guardians of students with disabilities are given protection under this law in the event that they wish to participate in parent- teacher meetings, PTA events, or other school functions. For those with a writing disability who are seeking employment, the law provides that
an employer with 15 or more employees may not discriminate against a person with a disability if that person is able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. The accommodations may include providing
assistive technology for the employee, unless providing that technology presents an undue hardship for the employer, in case of extreme cost, for example. Most accommodations do not prove to be very costly, however, and do not qualify as undue hardships.
· The ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY ACT and the TECHNOLOGY-RELATED ASSISTANCE for INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (TECH ACT)
This law provides federal funds to assist states in providing access to assistive technology and information for individuals with disabilities. This act provides a
definition of assistive technology that has become the standard definition in subsequent federal legislation. The definition includes “any tool or item that increases, maintains, or improves functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” In your state, the Tech Act agency should be able to inform you of available resources for funding of equipment you may need to offset your writing disability.
· REHABILITATION ACT AMENDMENTS of 1992 and 1998
This law seeks to provide access to rehabilitation services for individuals with disabilities in order to promote their opportunities for employment and independent living. Consideration of every option should be made for training, assistive technology, accommodations and other supports. All state rehabilitation agencies must address the technology needs of their clients, and the federal government as well must make the technology it uses accessible to those with disabilities.
· TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT of 1996 – SECTION 255
This law requires all telecommunications systems and services to be accessible to
individuals with disabilities.