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Updated: 8/11/2003 9:11 pm
Wondering about childcare options for disabled children? The Americans with Disabilities Act opens opportunities for these children to enjoy the benefits of integration with their peers. By law, childcare centers must make reasonable accommodations in policies, practices, procedures and the physical structure of the center to serve children with disabilities as well as those without. If modifications would fundamentally alter the goods or services of the childcare setting, or compliance would place an undue financial or overly difficult burden on the operator, then the change isn't required. Architectural barriers, such as stairs, must be removed when readily achievable. If the barriers can't be removed, then the center must provide methods of care, as long as it's readily achievable. When the center provides transportation for children, then accommodation should be made to transport disabled children, unless it causes an undue burden. Centers aren't required to retrofit hydraulic and other lifts to comply. Effective communication is also governed by this act. Centers must ensure they're able to communicate with children who have speech, hearing, or sight disabilities. While a childcare center can't pass the cost of compliance on to the disabled child's family, it might be eligible for the Tax Deduction to Remove Architectural and Transportation Barriers to People with Disabilities and Elderly Individuals, or for Disabled Access Tax Credit.

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