Skip to main content

Laws, Regulations & Guidelines

Photo of the US Capitol Building

Resources for those interested in learning more about laws, regulations and guidelines that pertain to the rights of individuals with disabilities within education and workforce development settings.  It includes information about accessible educational materials and technologies.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 U.S.C. 12102(2)(A))
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Its overall purpose is to make American Society more accessible to people with disabilities. In 2008, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) was passed. Its purpose is to broaden the definition of disability, which had been narrowed by U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

  • Title I of the ADA
  • Title II of the ADA
  • Title III of the ADA
  • Title IV of the ADA
  • Title V of the ADA

Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (often just called the “Rehab Act”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs run by federal agencies; programs that receive federal financial assistance; in federal employment; and in the employment practices of federal contractors.

  • Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

AT Act
The Assistive Technology Act was first passed by Congress as the Technology-Related Assistance Act of 1988 and has been reauthorized in 1994, 1998, and 2004. The AT Act provides funding to states to increase access, availability, and funding for assistive technology. State AT Act Projects provide services to persons with disabilities across the lifespan, as well as to their families or guardians, service providers, and agencies.

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

View in glossary


Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

View in glossary


Work performed for compensation, at location, and with opportunities for advancement similar to those who are not individuals with disabilities.

View in glossary

Section 504

Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Written 504 plan used to guide provision of instructional services.

View in glossary

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Refresh
The US Access Board jointly refreshed Section 508 of the Rehab Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunication Act.  The Final Rule jointly updates Section 508 and Section 255 guidelines and synchronizes with other standards for ICT and web content such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Telecommunications Act of 1996
An Act to promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies.

Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)
On October 8, 2010, President Obama signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) into law. The CVAA updates federal communications law to increase the access of persons with disabilities to modern communications. The CVAA makes sure that accessibility laws enacted in the 1980s and 1990s are brought up to date with 21st century technologies, including new digital, broadband, and mobile innovations.

  • Title I – Communications Access
  • Title II – Video Programming

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
WAI develops guidelines widely regarded as the international standard for Web accessibility, support materials to help understand and implement Web accessibility resources, through international collaboration.


Access for all people, including people with disabilities, to web environments.

View in glossary