The office provides technical support, guidance and trainings to ADA Coordinators. The office is working towards establishing a formalized, state-wide, ADA Coordinator network to facilitate the dissemination of information and to provide a more comprehensive and uniform approach to ADA-related needs/issues.
There are over 1.4 million Georgians with some kind of disability. Virtually every Georgia family is touched by the experience of disability. At any given time, these citizens may come into contact with our state government. For many of these individuals, their disabilities combined with environmental obstacles may impose significant barriers to an equal opportunity to participate in certain government programs, services, or activities.
Title II of the ADA requires State of Georgia government agencies and departments, to ensure that qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities are afforded equal opportunity to participate in those programs, services and activities offered by state government.
The ADA also directs state agencies to carry out specific methods of administration enumerated in its implementing regulations to ensure compliance with the Act’s mandate, which include:
- Designation of an agency ADA Coordinator to establish a single line of responsibility and intra-agency coordination for the purpose of ensuring that its programs, services and activities provide genuine, effective and meaningful access to individuals with disabilities (28 C.F.R 35.107(a));
- Development of the agency’s ADA self-evaluation (28 C.F.R. 35.105);
- Development of the agency’s transition plan (28 C.F.R. 35.150);
- Establishment and administration of the agency’s ADA informal grievance procedure (28 C.F.R. 35.107);
- Provision of public notice of the agency’s ADA-related activities (28 C.F.R. 35.106)
The ADA Challenge
Due to the complexity of the ADA compliance function, disability-related access to government programs, services, and activities may be limited because of the lack of coordination and authority. The lack of coordination between agency partners coupled with the lack of authority for the ADA compliance office affects state government at many levels. ADA compliance presents five related, yet distinct, challenges for Georgia government.
The first challenge involves developing and implementing a comprehensive plan to address general accessibility concerns for Georgians with disabilities, including but not limited to removing architectural barriers in state owned or leased facilities, communicating effectively with Georgians with sensory impairments, and making government websites accessible for people who use assistive technology. Universal design accommodates a wide range of abilities and needs.
The second challenge involves interacting with people with disabilities as individuals, and not just as members of a group. No two people with disabilities are alike; each individual has unique skills, aptitudes, and capacities. It may be necessary to provide an individualized accommodation, such as a sign language interpreter to ensure an equal opportunity for a state employee who is deaf, or to ensure access to a particular government program. Moreover, an accommodation that works well for one individual with a disability may not work as well for someone else with a similar disability. Thus, state agencies must evaluate on a case-by-case basis each request for a reasonable accommodation by a person with a disability.
Third, certain state agencies, are responsible for directly administering disability-specific programs that often require compliance with a bundle of interrelated or separate federal and state laws. This array of requirements must be carefully considered when assessing an agency’s compliance with title II. This challenge is further compounded when service delivery must be coordinated between separate agencies.
Fourth, due to the changing nature of state government programs, as well as the fluid nature of disability/accessibility-related requirements, ADA implementation challenges are continual. As a consequence, it is essential that state agencies have a mechanism for addressing emerging issues so that programs, services and activities are delivered in a seamless manner to Georgia citizens with disabilities.
Fifth, there are often costs associated with ADA implementation that must be considered within the context of continual budgetary constraints.
A Coordinated Approach
Experience indicates that compliance activities are best approached as a coordinated whole. Coordination can facilitate the sharing of information and resources, and strengthen accountability.
A coordinated approach will improve your agency’s ability to:
- Empower Georgia's citizens with disabilities to fully participate in your agency’s services by exercising rights and responsibilities expected of all citizens;
- Increase the capacity of your agency’s to respond to accommodation requests and specific needs for a broad range of Georgians with disabilities without creating unnecessary administrative demands on busy government personnel that often result from unexpected requests;
- Ensure due process, equal protection, and civil rights of individuals with disabilities;
- Promote a fiscally responsible ADA program through utilization of shared and leveraged resources;
- Minimize overlap and duplicated administration of agency-wide ADA-related services; and
- Foster a “Team Georgia” approach to ADA-related issues applicable to your agency’s public mission.
To Assist You, Our Office:
- Serves as a technical resource to State agencies for the ADA's Title II general nondiscrimination requirements, program accessibility, communications and employment (including the reasonable accommodation process);
- Operates the statewide ADA facility improvements program;
- Assists State agencies in updating, strengthening and enhancing the scope of self-evaluation and transition plans to ensure compliance with the ADA mandate;
- Conducts general and customized training on ADA topics for State agencies;
Online Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act Tutorial
This tutorial is a valuable educational tool created to orient ADA coordinators to their roles and allow us to open a new frontier for transmitting information and sharing resources. To register log-in and participate in the tutorial, please go to: www.adacourse.org/title2.
ADA Action Plans
For assistance with revising or updating your agency’s ADA Action Plan, please contact our office at (404) 657-7313 or (Phone), (404) 657-9993 (TTY) or Group.GeorgiaADA@gsfic.ga.gov.