Document Type


Publication Date

January 2017



First Page



This Article starts from the important contributions of the neurodiversity movement, which emphasizes the benefits of an expanded view of protecting human difference. These differences include variations in brain structure, behavior, and social functioning. Social impairments are a potential feature of many disabilities covered under the employment antidiscrimination provisions of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), but the legal literature has not yet focused on the analytic issues social impairments present. This Article analyzes how the ADA's employment protections should apply in the social impairments context.Congress's enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments ("ADAAA") in 2008 made important statutory changes that render obsolete the pre-2008 case law on social impairments. Some courts and commentators have yet to appreciate this, however, so this Article first addresses threshold coverage issues for social impairments, establishing that social impairments qualify for ADA coverage on the same, now more generous, basis as all other impairments under the ADAAA.