Hello, I’m Kathy Gips with today’s ADA Update on title II - it’s the part of the ADA that applies to state and local governments.
Title II has requirements that are familiar to most of us - buildings built since 1992 have to be accessible, for example entrances that people in wheelchairs can use, signage in braille so the ladies room can be distinguished from the men’s room and grab bars in toilet rooms… but other aspects of the ADA are less known.
People who are blind or have low vision, people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people with speech disabilities have a right to what the ADA calls “auxiliary aids and services”
Here are some examples: To participate in a town meeting, a person who is deaf might need a sign language interpreter; if a state agency has a brochure about their activities, it needs to be provided in large print for a person who has low vision. A municipal library should have screen reader software installed on a computer for people who are blind.
Title II also requires that state and local governments modify their policies for people with disabilities.. One of the most common modifications is permitting a service animal into a public building. As you probably know, service animals are used by many people who are blind, but they are also used by people who are deaf, people with balance problems, people with epilepsy and others
What about all of those inaccessible buildings built before the ADA went into effect? They need to be altered to the extent that people with disabilities have equal access to services and activities such as voting, attending a state hearing or enjoying a state park. This is called program accessibility.
All state and local governments with 50 or more employees must have an ADA Coordinator. This is a key person for you to know.