Accessibility Glossary

See below for a list of frequently used terms related to accessibility at UA, along with their definitions. If you would like clarification on any of these, please contact us at


 Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. A civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, interviewing, hiring, and working, and additional benefits individuals get from working.

ADA Amendments Act of 2008. This act overturned several Supreme Court decisions that limited the ADA’s definition of disability. It states that the definition of disability must be more flexible and broadly defined, and that the law should focus on whether or not discrimination occurred and not whether the person had a disability. Source

 Defined by the ADA as (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) a record or history of such an impairment, or (3) being regarded by others as having such an impairment.


A physical and/or mental impairment caused by a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. 

The means by which an employee with a disability and their supervisor reach an agreement about what reasonable accommodations the employee might need in order to perform the essential functions of their job, or to equally access workplace benefits (like career-development opportunities, work-adjacent special events, and more).

These include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions are also included. Source  

Any change in the work environment or the way things are customarily done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Source


Other Laws, Policies & Acts

This act protects people from discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities.

A law that prohibits Federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities and requires employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. Source

A law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability in programs that receive federal financial assistance.

A law that requires Federal agencies to ensure individuals with disabilities have comparable access to electronic and information technology. 


Assistive Animals

A dog (and in certain circumstances, a miniature horse) that has been individually trained to perform a task for the benefit of an individual with a disability. As provided in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities may bring their Service Animals with them anywhere the individual is normally allowed to go.

An animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability, and has been approved to be present in on-campus housing by Disability Services (student residents) or UA Human Resources (employee and guest residents) as a reasonable accommodation for an individual with a documented disability under applicable procedure. Assistance Animals are sometimes also referred to as an emotional support animal, therapy animal, or comfort animal.

An animal kept for ordinary use, pleasure, and/or companionship.

An individual who is responsible for or possesses any animal on campus.