Provided Courtesy of: The Americans With Disabilities Act-Communication Accomodations Project; 
National Center for Law and Deafness; 
Gallaudet University; 
800 Florida Avenue, N.E.; 
Washington, DC  20002; 


Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. Sections 12182, 12183, (ADA) provides people with disabilities with the rights to equal access to public accommodations. For deaf and hard of hearing people, Title III and its regulation will be of tremendous help in removing communication barriers.

Title III covers a wide range of places, such as hotels, theaters, restaurants, doctors' and lawyers' offices, banks, insurance agencies, retail stores, museums, parks, libraries, day care centers and private schools. All of these public accommodations are required to provide auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication with deaf and hard of hearing people. The ADA also requires the removal of structural communication barriers that are in existing facilities, by the installation of flashing alarm systems, permanent signage, and adequate sound buffers.


Auxiliary Aids

The U.S. Department of Justice regulation to Title III of the ADA, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, and the Analysis thereto, 56 Fed. Reg. 35544 - 35691 (July 26, 1991), explain in detail the requirements of this title. Public accommodations are required to provide auxiliary aids when such are necessary to enable a person with disabilities to benefit from their services:

A public accommodation shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.

8 C.F.R. Section 36.303(c).

A public accommodation may avoid provision of an auxiliary aid only if it can demonstrate that provision of such would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, or would constitute an undue burden or expense. If the public accommodation is able to demonstrate that there is a fundamental alteration or an undue burden in the provision of a particular auxiliary aid it must, however, be prepared to provide an alternative auxiliary aid, where one exists. 28 C.F.R. Section 36.303(f).

A comprehensive list of auxiliary aids and services required by the ADA is set forth in this regulation, and includes, for deaf and hard of hearing individuals:

qualified interpreters, notetakers, computer-aided transcription services, written materials, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening devices, assistive listening systems, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, open and closed captioning, telecommunication devices for deaf persons (TDD'), videotext displays, or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments.

28 C.F.R. 36.303(b)(1).

The term qualified interpreter is defined in the regulation to mean:

. . . an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.

28 C.F.R. 36.104

The Analysis to this regulation makes it clear that Congress, as well as the Department of Justice, "expects that public accommodations will consult with the individual with a disability before providing a particular auxiliary aid or service." 56 Fed. Reg. at 35567. The Department of Justice further stated in its Analysis:

It is not difficult to imagine a wide range of communications involving areas such as health, legal matters, and finances that would be sufficiently lengthy or complex to require an interpreter for effective communication.

56 Fed. Reg. at 35567.

We hope that this information will be of assistance. Please let us know if there are any questions.

Funded by a Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice