Did You Know That Asthma is a Disability?
When I was asked recently, "Is asthma a disability?", I didn't expect to find out the answer is yes. I mean, I've been living with asthma my entire life of 64 years, and I have never felt disabled by it. Annoyed, sometimes; frustrated, maybe; but not to the point of disability. But then, my asthma is classified as mild, intermittent.
The story is quite different for those of you with severe, persistent asthma, especially when it is resistant to treatment. I understand that. And it is precisely that type of asthmatic who is most likely to feel that asthma interferes with what are called "major life activities."
Let's explore this subject in more detail.
NOTE: My frame of reference is United States law. There are also laws that govern disability as relates to asthma in the U.K., and possibly other countries as well.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA, for short) is part of our national civil rights and was originally passed in 1991. The regulations and requirements have been updated several times over the years, most recently in late 2016.1
The ADA gives people with disabilities protection from discrimination.2 It also gives them the same full access to all facilities, programs, goods and services as people without disabilities. You should never be denied services or left out just because you have a disability. Facilities that receive Federal funding are particularly held to this standard. This includes places such as:
- Doctors’ offices
- Non-religious private schools
- Child care programs
Do you experience allergies and/or sensitivities?