The Disability Discrimination Act (1992)
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) makes it illegal for any person, business or authority to discriminate on the basis of a person’s disability. The legislation ensures that people with a disability have the same opportunities to access employment, education, transport, accommodation and buildings as other members of the community who do not have a disability. The legislation also makes harassment and victimisation of a person with a disability, or their friends of family, against the law. The DDA was amended in August 2009 under the Disability Discrimination and other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act, 2009.
The definition of disability under this legislation is exceptionally broad. It may be in relation to a person’s intellectual, physical, sensory, mental health, learning, behaviour and /or medical need or condition. Under the definition the disability may presently exist, may have previously existed but no longer exist, may exist in the future or is imputed to the person.
Disability Standards for Education 2005
In 2005 the Disability Standards for Education 2005 were introduced providing greater clarity to education service providers regarding the obligations and responsibilities they hold toward persons with a disability and/or their associates. Essentially the Disability Standards for Education articulate the rights of students with disabilities; and the responsibilities of the school or ‘standards’ and ‘measures of compliance’ in the areas of enrolment, participation, curriculum accreditation and delivery, student support services and harassment and victimisation.
Schools must take reasonable steps ensure that a student with a disability can access the same or comparable opportunities and choices provided by the school ‘on the same basis’ as those opportunities and choices offered to a student without a disability. This may necessitate the determination and implementation of ‘reasonable adjustments’.
In determining the adjustments to support the student’s access to and participation in the opportunities provided by the school; the school must take into consideration the effect of the student’s disability, the views of the student or their associate (parents /carers), the effect of the adjustment on the student, as well as the impact of the adjustment on the school, its staff and other students. The school also takes into account the costs and benefits of making any adjustment deemed necessary to enable the student’s maximum participation.
The Disability Standards for Education 2005 recognise that regular collaborative consultation with the student, their associate, teachers, other service providers, together with expert advice forms the basis for an effective Individual Plan. The Individual Planning Process ensures that the student’s needs and necessary adjustments are identified and determines the way in which the adjustments will be implemented.
“Education providers have a positive obligation to make changes to reasonably accommodate the needs of a student with a disability” (Australian Government: Attorney General’s Department). More information about Individual Plans is available under the 'Students with Disabilities' tab under AIS Services.
During 2011 The Disability Standards for Education 2005 are being reviewed by the Commonwealth Government.
Support is available through AIS for all matters relating to students with a disability including assistance with the enrolment of students with a disability; assistance with the Individual Planning Process; professional development and access to relevant information/resources.
Further Information can be obtained from the websites listed on this page.