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After Two Decades, Change Coming To ADA

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For the first time in more than 20 years, regulations governing the Americans with Disabilities Act are getting a major overhaul.

Starting Tuesday, new rules go into effect covering everything from building design to what qualifies as a service animal.

Notably, the new ADA regulations will include first-ever accessibility requirements for swimming pools, parks, golf courses, boating facilities, exercise clubs and other recreational facilities.

What’s more, going forward, only trained dogs will be eligible for use as service animals.

While service dogs can provide a wide range of assistance for people with mental or physical disabilities, they must help with issues directly related to the person’s disability and offer more than “emotional support” under the new rules.

The revised regulations also set standards for the use of wheelchairs versus other mobility devices like Segways and provide guidance on selling tickets for accessible seating at entertainment venues and reserving hotel rooms.

“The new rules usher in a new day for the more than 50 million individuals with disabilities in this country,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights. “The rules will expand accessibility in a number of areas.”

While the regulations take effect Tuesday, businesses get some leeway. Only buildings constructed or altered after March 15, 2012 will have to comply with the new accessibility requirements.

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Comments (4 Responses)

  1. denasd@comcast.net says:

    I don’t understand how buildings can get away with being non-ADA compliant. For example, I live in a condo complex that has no handicapped parking. It is a very large complex and my parents have no place to park when they visit and have their handicapped placard with them. I would think that it would be discriminatory to not have parking available to all (visitors and residents). What gives?

  2. Missi says:

    What about a seizure dog who has not been thru training school? Is this a tax issue? I didn’t have to pay $20,000 for a dog who alerts to my grandson’s seizures and helps him keep his autism under control, so I can’t use him as a service dog? Ask O’bama – what if it was his child and their fancy dog!

  3. jnewhouse@mlchc.org says:

    If I am reading it right the animal does not need to be professionally trained, but must at least be personally/directly trained to take care of that individuals needs. I think what they are really trying to weed out are the snakes, birds etc and small dogs who aren’t “trained” to do anything but look cute. Sounds like your grandson’s seizure dog would still qualify – I hope that is the case becuase you are right while there are alot of dogs trained well by individuals and groups, they are not all “professionally trained” and it is a huge cost and long waiting lists for some.
    J

  4. Lynne says:

    I have a nine year old that has a lot of speech problems. Some times he doesn’t even talk. His doctor wrote a note saying that a service dog would be good for him. It would teach my son to take care of an animal and talk to it. My son loves dogs and seems to communicate verbally when around them…big or small. We can not afford a trained service dog. They are $1000′s of dollars. It’s not as if my son needs a talking dog. He just needs a dog who will listen and be his friend. We wouldn’t take it in any buildings but in order for my son to get a service companion dog we have to have a letter from his doctor which we have. Our landlord won’t allow any dogs except service dogs. We can’t afford a trained service dog. So what are people to do if they can’t afford a specially trained dog? If you have a recommendation and a letter from your doctor for a service companion dog why wouldn’t that be enough? Specially trained or not?

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