Title

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Voice Disorders: Practical Guidelines for Voice Clinicians

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Journal of Voice

ISSN

0892-1997

Volume

30

Issue

3

DOI

10.1016/j.jvoice.2015.04.006

First Page

293

Last Page

300

Publication Date

1-1-2016

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) resulted in changes to the legal definition of disability and substantially affected how those with voice disorders may qualify for reasonable accommodations under the law. However, there has been little guidance and a lack of awareness about these changes within the voice literature. This article examines the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the changes made in 2008 (ADAAA), and how the law applies to individuals with voice disorders.

STUDY DESIGN: This is a review article.

METHODS: The ADA and ADAAA are summarized with a particular focus on individuals with voice disorders. Types of reasonable accommodations within the workplace are suggested, and online resources are provided which outline the disclosure and accommodation process. Practical examples are used to provide guidance for clinicians who may be involved in counseling this clinical population.

RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: Many individuals with voice disorders may not realize that their conditions can be classified as disabilities under the law, entitling them to workplace accommodations and time off to pursue medical treatment. However, disclosure laws such as the right to refrain from mentioning a disability during a job interview may not be protective of individuals with severe voice impairments, as symptoms are often difficult to conceal. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.