This paper discusses federal legislation relating to persons with disabilities and it divides into 13 areas. Several areas of legislation, such as education and basic education, have a long history beginning with World War I. Laws related to other areas, such as federal support for developing technology, have been adopted only within the past 5 years. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (Public Law 101–336), which guarantees civil rights to Americans with disabilities, has five titles, and each is summarized. Although the ADA provides for Americans with disabilities to be included in American society, it has some major limitations, including the lack of an affirmative action requirement and of provisions for the education and training of persons with disabilities so that they can qualify for employment. Several of the federal laws related to persons with disabilities have affected the field of occupational therapy either favorably or adversely. The conclusion is drawn that occupational therapists need to be alert to pending legislation to promote the role of occupational therapy in serving persons with disabilities.

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