ABCs of the ADA

Submitted by Maggie Sims on Mon, 06/03/2019


ABCs of the ADA


When I was a kid traveling on vacation with my parents, we loved to play the ABC game. With four sisters in the crowded backseat, the ABC game kept us occupied on those long trips (which also helped keep my parents’ sanity intact 😊). And competition was fierce! The game consists of taking turns finding a word that begins with the next letter of the alphabet. Often there would be long stretches where it was difficult to find certain letters. So we incorporated a few flexible rules to make it easier. Since few towns or words popped up that began with the letter X, we were allowed to use a railroad crossing sign instead. And any word, sign, or picture (including polite graffiti) that had Z, Q, and sometimes Y anywhere in it was fair game. This popular road-trip word game sharpened not only my geographic knowledge but my vocabulary skills as well. 


Have you noticed that the ADA lexicon can be confusing to keep up with? There are so many words and phrases to know. Many times specific terms are misused or misunderstood.  So let’s play a game! Let’s play the ABC game as it relates to the ADA. From A-Z, let's look at some common terms from the ADA. And we'll take a few ‘shortcuts’ to ensure we make it through the entire alphabet. So hop in the backseat, buckle up, and get ready to expand your ADA vocabulary!!


A – Auxiliary aids and services

B – Breeds 

C – Customer Service

D – Direct Threat

E – Essential Job Function

F – Fundamental Alteration

G – Grandfathered/ Safe Harbor  

H – Hearing Loss

I – Interactive Process

J – July 26, 1990

K – Knee and Toe Clearance

L – Limitations

                Reasonable accommodation obligations

                Auxiliary aids and services obligations
                Barrier Removal

M – Medical Diagnostic Equipment

N – New Construction

O – OPMD (Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices)

P – Program Accessibility

Q – Qualified Individual with a Disability

R – Readily Achievable

S – Surcharges

T – Titles

U – Undue burden or undue hardship?   

V – Volunteers:  When are they employees?

W – Work at Home as an Accommodation

X – eXaminations

Y – Your Employment Rights

Z – Zebras - NO; Miniature horse - YES!


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