Disabilities Defined

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (- 42 U.S.C. § 12102) defines disabilities in three parts:

•(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
•(B) a record of such an impairment; or
•(C) being regarded as having such an impairment. (1)
The Office on Disability (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) compliments the legislative definition of disabilities as “characteristics of the body, mind, or senses that, to a greater or lesser extent, affect a person’s ability to engage independently in some or all aspects of day-to-day life.” (2) Simply put, those with disabilities have special needs, whether physically, mentally, or intellectually. These needs may be visible, invisible, and/or temporary. Biomedical librarians can assist with these needs by not only ensuring access within the library environment to all clientele, but also through assisting doctors, nurses, and other clinicians in staying up-to-date on disability topics.

(1) U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. ADA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008. 2008 [cited 2011 December 7]. Available at: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/adaaa.cfm

(2) Office on Disability. What is Disability and Who is Affected by Disability?. [cited 2011 December 7] Available at: http://www.hhs.gov/od/about/fact_sheets/whatisdisability.html.

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