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Potential Self-Advocacy Situations

Thinking about and preparing for situations where people may question your legal rights can help you in many ways if and when a potential situation arises. Below are some common issues you may be presented with, and the legal support to help you advocacte for you rights. 

You’re told that you do not qualify for extra time during the SAT/ACT/GRE.
If this accommodation is in your IEP, denying you extra time to complete the test may be a violation of ADA.

You’re told your high school can’t afford a Cued Speech interpreter so you cannot have this form of accommodation.
This may be a violation of IDEA. Cost is not sufficient reason to deny services.

Your high school has asked you to learn sign language because they can’t find an oral interpreter.
This is a violation of IDEA. School districts must respect a student's preferred mode of communication.

You’re told that you cannot attend your IEP meeting your senior year of high school.
This is a violation of IDEA, unless the school district can identify a valid reason why it would be inappropriate for you to attend the meeting.

A note taker’s support is in your IEP. Your note taker is not taking notes. You’ve told your teacher and he’s said to give her another chance. Nothing has changed. You tell your teacher again. Nothing happens.
If note taker support is in your IEP, the failure to implement the IEP violation of IDEA.

Your substitute doesn't want to wear a microphone for your FM system.
If an FM system is in your IEP, the failure to implement the IEP is a violation of the IDEA.

You’re told your college can’t afford an FM system so you cannot request this technology.
Unless the cost of an accommodation is exorbitant when compared to the entire college budget, this is a violation of ADA.

You’re told that you cannot waive a foreign language requirement in your first year of college/university.
This is legal, although many schools make it optional for students with hearing loss. The ADA can require reasonable accommodation, but cannot require modification of a fundamental part of a program.

Your neighborhood movie theatre doesn’t have any ALDs. The manager has never heard of the ADA.
This is a violation of ADA.

When you go to test drive a car, the salesman asks if deaf people can drive.
Not a violation of ADA, simply a violation of your dignity. This would be a violation if the salesman's prejudice negatively impacted your ability to secure a loan, etc.

You are in a job interview for an awesome summer internship when, shortly after the interviewer asks about your hearing aids, the interview is abruptly concluded. When you call to see why you didn’t get the job, you’re told that the job requires a lot of telephone contact and that you wouldn’t be a good fit.
This is a violation of ADA unless the company can show that accommodation would cause undue hardship or fundamentally alter the nature of the position.