Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act was designed to ensure that any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance does not discriminate on the basis of disability for otherwise qualified persons. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended in 1998) requires all elementary and secondary schools and most postsecondary educational institutions must be responsive to the needs of individual students and students with disabilities and make programs and services accessible to them on request. A “person with a disability” is defined as any person who:
(1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
(2) has record of such an impairment, or
(3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.
Under section 504, “effective communications” is required, and for those with hearing disabilities, their primary source of audio information is either a transcript or captions.