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-seizure medication (ASMs) (also known as Anti-seizure 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 and New Zealand Acts and Conventions:
- United Nations – Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability
- Schools are required to be inclusive Education and Training Act 2020
- United Nations – Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) New Zealand ratified the UNCROC in 1993.
- The New Zealand Disability Strategy- provides a framework to guide government agencies when making policy and services affecting disabled people.
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