Program access

State and local governments should take the following steps to offer programs that are accessible to all individuals:

  • Ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from services, programs, and activities because buildings are inaccessible
  • Need not remove physical barriers (such as stairs) in all existing buildings, as long as they make their programs accessible to individuals who are unable to use these facilities
  • Provide the services, programs and activities offered in a facility with physical barriers to individuals with disabilities through an alternative method:
  • Relocate a service to an accessible facility, such as moving a public information office from the third floor to the first floor of a building
  • Provide an aide or personal assistant to enable an individual with a disability to obtain the service
  • Provide benefits or services at an individual's home, or at an alternative accessible site
  • May not carry an individual with a disability as a method of providing program access, except in manifestly exceptional circumstances
  • Are not required to take any action that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the service, program or activity, or in undue financial and administrative burdens, but must take any other available action that would ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the benefits or services

Integrated programs

Integrating individuals with disabilities into mainstream society is fundamental to the purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Public entities may not provide services or benefits to individuals with disabilities through programs that are separate or different, unless the separate programs are necessary to ensure that the benefits and services are equally effective.

Even when separate programs are permitted, an individual with a disability still has the right to choose to participate in the regular program. (For example, it would not be a violation for a city to offer recreational programs specially designed for children with mobility impairments, but it would be a violation if the city refused to allow children with disabilities to participate in its other recreational programs.) State and local governments may not require an individual with a disability to accept a special accommodation or benefit if the individual chooses not to accept it.