All people who live with a disability or chronic health conditions have the right to be an active member of society and a say in decisions that affect their lives.
Epilepsy and disability can intersect in a number of ways. Some people living with epilepsy also live with a co-existing disability, such as a cognitive or physical one. In other cases a person is considered to have a recognised disability because their epilepsy is not controlled, despite being on anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).
You may have an epilepsy diagnosis, but you may not consider that you have a disability. However, under the discrimination law framework, the definition of disability is stated broadly. Having an epilepsy diagnosis would be considered a disability in the context of discrimination law, as would other chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and arthritis.
Fortunately the rights of people are enshrined in a range of international, Australian and state-based Acts and Conventions:
- United Nations – Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability
- Commonwealth of Australia – Disability Discrimination Act 1992
- Commonwealth of Australia – Disability Standards for Education 2005
- Australian Capital Territory – Disability Services Act 1991
- New South Wales – Disability Inclusion Act 2014
- South Australia – Disability Services Act 1993
- Tasmania – Tasmanian Disability Services Act 2011
- Victoria – Disability Act 2006
- Western Australia – Disability Services Act 1993
The Disability Standards for Education 2005 clarifies the obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and provides students and prospective students with a disability the right to education and training opportunities on the same basis as students without a disability.
To learn more about disability and human rights visit the Australian Human Rights Commission.