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The ADA does not usually cover impairments that do not last for a long period of time and that have little or no long term impact on the individual.For example, individuals with mild or short-term mental health problems usually will not meet the ADA's definition of disability.

“A large majority of cases are not dealing with disability any more so the best practice I suggest is to move quickly past the first stage,’’ she advised.C., guided an expert panel through such topics as who is entitled to reasonable accommodations, types of reasonable accommodations, reasonable vs.unreasonable accommodations, undue hardship, essential versus nonessential job functions, how to identify accommodation requests, the process and common pitfalls to avoid.By definition, mental retardation begins before the age of 18.In contrast, the intellectual functioning of persons with psychiatric disabilities varies as it does across the general population.Some people are surprised to learn that the ADA covers individuals with psychiatric, as well as physical, disabilities.

This is consistent with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the federal nondiscrimination statute which preceded the ADA.Individuals with psychiatric diagnoses such as major depression, bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness), and schizophrenia may be covered, depending on how the condition affects their functioning.Individuals with other psychiatric conditions (such as anxiety, personality, disassociative, or post-traumatic stress disorders) may also be included in the ADA definition.“What you want to do is keep a productive worker in the workforce.”She listed some tips for employees in initiating a request for accommodations.They include: The panelists agreed that employers should ensure that requests for accommodation are dealt with by the HR department and not supervisors.“That’s where I see policy sometimes fall short is that the same form letter is given to each person and often that form letter asks for more information than is necessary to understand whether the person has a disability and has limitations for which they need accommodations.”The program was sponsored by the ABA Commission On Disability Rights, Commission on Law and Aging, Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, Section of Labor and Employment Law, Section of State and Local Government Law, Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division, Young Lawyers Division, and the Center for Professional Development.