Future Reflections        Special Issue on Advocacy

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Terms and Acronyms

Discussions of advocacy for blind children are peppered with references to disability laws and relevant procedures. Those in the know seem to take the jargon for granted, but the rest of the world may flounder in a sea of acronyms. Here is a short guide to some of the terms you will encounter as you read the articles in this issue of Future Reflections.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)--Signed into law in 1990, the ADA is the most comprehensive piece of federal legislation that has ever been passed to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. It covers employment, public accommodations and public transportation, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and more.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)--Mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an Individualized Education Program (sometimes referred to as an Individualized Education Plan) is a document that defines the educational goals for a child with disabilities. Based upon the needs of and goals for the child, the IEP determines services and placement. An IEP may be in effect for a child from age three until the completion of twelfth grade.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)--The IFSP is a plan for early intervention services for children with developmental delays. A child may have an IFSP from birth to age from birth to age three.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)--Originally enacted in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, IDEA ensures the right of all children with disabilities to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973--This piece of legislation, commonly referred to as Section 504, prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of disability in private and public programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Section 504 is a landmark piece of legislation, as it was the first major law to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973--This section of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and members of the public.

White Cane Laws--White Cane Laws are any of a number of state laws and local ordinances that protect the right of blind persons to enter and use public accommodations with a white cane or dog guide. Most of these laws also require drivers to yield to a blind pedestrian with a dog guide or white cane.

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