Cerebral Palsy: Knowing your Legal Rights

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Cerebral palsy has a significant impact on a person throughout their life. And without proper legal rights, the harsh world would make it much more difficult for them to survive. However,the legislation that governs the rights of persons with cerebral palsy has crafted ways for them to be treated right under the law. They, increasingly, have more opportunities to live productively and participate in society. Knowing your legal rights, as a person living with cerebral palsy, will go a long way in making life more comfortable.

The Legal Rights

It is necessary to know and understand the legal rights that protect the interests of persons living with cerebral palsy. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) grants rights to every  person  living with cerebral palsy to have equal opportunities to public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunication.

Right to Public Accommodation

Public accommodations cover public, private, and nonprofit entities that own, lease or operate facilities like retail stores, restaurants, hotels, private schools, movie theatres. Others include conventional centers, homeless shelters, doctors’ office, transportation depots, daycare centers and recreation facilities. Right to public accommodation according to ADA requirements, means that persons living with cerebral palsy have the right to enjoy all the public facilities, activities, events, and more. That is, every public place should adjust to fit the needs of persons living with cerebral palsy whether it means installing a wheelchair ramp, bus lifts, or ability to access classrooms. Discriminating a person living with cerebral palsy to access any public amenities, participating in events and activities may lead to a lawsuit.

Right to State and Local Government activities

The ADA states that regardless of Federal funding or entity size, every person with cerebral palsy has the right to benefit from all activities, services, and programs. These include employment, public education, health care, recreation, courts, social services, town meetings, and voting. The local and state governments are required to follow the laid down architectural standards in every new construction and to alter older buildings, to accommodate the needs of persons  living with cerebral palsy. Additionally, they should communicate effectively to people with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities by making reasonable modifications, practices, policies, and procedures.

Right to Public Transportation

Public transportation covers public rail transit (commuter rails, subways, and Amtrak), and city buses. The public transportation authorities should not discriminate against people with cerebral palsy in providing safe and accommodating transport services.

They should have wheelchair accessibility on their open vehicles and ensure paratransit when operating a fixed-route rail and bus system. Paratransit service means picking and dropping individuals who cannot access conventional transit system independently due to mental or physical impairment.

Right to Education

The education rights of children with cerebral palsy require that every public school accommodate them without any discrimination. They should receive free and appropriate public education within the least restrictive environment that’s appropriate to cater to their individual needs.

Public schools are also required to develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPS) to fit the needs of every person  living with cerebral palsy.Each of the related services and special education on each child’s IEP should reflect their personalized needs. The Individualized Education Programs must be developed by knowledgeable persons and reviewed annually. The team should include the parents, the teacher, and an agency representative qualified to supervise and provide provisions of  special education. The child may be present, but only if it is determined to be appropriate, while any other representatives can be included at the discretion of the agency and the parent.

Right to Employment

For any employer with 15 or more employees, they should provide individuals with cerebral palsy, qualified to take a particular position, with employment. Additionally, they should be

provided with all the benefits and opportunities accorded to all the other employees.

For example, they should not be prohibited from promotion, pay, training, or social activities due to their disability. The employer is also required to make reasonable accommodation for such an individual, during the interview process. They should also restrain themselves from asking questions about the person’s disability before making a job offer.

Housing Rights

According to the Fair Housing Act, it is prohibited to deny an individual with cerebral palsy access to housing. The coverage includes local and States government housing, houses under Federal financial assistance, and private housing. Whether it is in the aspect of renting, buying, selling, or dwelling.  Discriminating against persons  living with cerebral palsy is unlawful. The law also covers housing financing, zoning practices, advertising, and even new construction designs.

Additionally, housing rights requires that the house owners provide facilities and make exceptional policies to accommodate people with cerebral palsy and give them equal housing opportunities. For example, a landlord who has a “no pets” policy may be required to grant an exception in the case of a service animal. The exception to such rules needs to allow persons  living with cerebral palsy to keep their guide dog. Rentals are also required to allow disabled people to have easy access to their buildings. Houses should have ramps, large and accessible doors, large use areas, big bathrooms, and kitchens to allow easy maneuvering of wheelchairs.

Air Carrier Access rights

The Air Carrier Access Act gives people with cerebral palsy the right to travel to any part of the world without discrimination. The act is both for local and foreign air carriers to provide and accommodate people with disabilities. The law requires that the airline assist persons  living with cerebral palsy when boarding, deplaning, and during transfers. However, it’s crucial to provide at least 48hours notice to the airline for them to facilitate accommodation, transport and respiratory services for their clients.

Health Care Rights

A person with cerebral palsy has right to non-discriminatory, community-based, and accessible health care services and coverage. Medicaid plans should provide community-based behavioral services to all disabled persons. The act also advocates for federal and state health care policies and ways that adhere to the needs of a disabled person, promoting stronger community integration.

Rights to Telecommunication Relay Services

A person living with cerebral palsy has a right to television and telephone access.The telephone companies are required to establish secure intrastate and interstate telecommunication relay services 24/7. Such relay services enable people with speech and hearing disability to communicate effectively with others through a third party communication assistant.

Federally funded service announcements, are required to have closed captioning.

The 1996 Telecommunication Act requires that manufacturers of telecommunication should have usable gadgets for persons living with disabilities. It ensures people with cerebral palsy enjoy services and products like pagers, cell phones, operator services, and call-waiting services.

Knowing your legal rights as a person  living with cerebral palsy goes a long way in making your life more comfortable and enjoyable. Learn more about your legal rights from government agencies, NGOs, and various organisations that advocate for the interests of persons with disabilities. Don’t be left behind, know your rights!

September 16, 2019 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: News