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Feds say summer camps must reasonably accommodate children with disabilities

wheelchairCEDAR RAPIDS – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa sent out today reminders to summer camps concerning the need to make reasonable accommodations to accept children with disabilities.

“Summer camps present tremendous growth opportunities for children to learn independence, try new activities and gain self-confidence,” stressed United States Attorney Kevin Techau. He further points out that, “The law requires camps to provide equal opportunities to disabled children whose needs can be reasonably accommodated.”

To help ensure that children with disabilities receive the opportunity to attend summer camp, the United States Attorney’s Office recently sent the attached flyer to hundreds of summer camps located within the Northern District of Iowa reminding them of their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

Under the ADA, summer camps, both private and those run by municipalities, must make reasonable modification to enable campers with disabilities to participate fully in all camp programs and activities. This generally means that children with disabilities are entitled to attend any camp or activity that non-disabled children attend, that camps must evaluate each child on an individual basis, and that camps must train their staff in the requirements of the ADA. Camps are obligated to pay for the cost of any reasonable modifications necessary for disabled children to participate in camp activities, and parents should not be charged any additional fee beyond standard camp enrollment costs.

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