What Global Laws Exist to Support Inclusion

Written by Dr. Betty Patten

The laws regarding inclusion vary by country, but in general, they require that individuals with disabilities be provided with equal access to education and other opportunities.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that children with disabilities be provided with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This means that students with disabilities must be educated alongside their non-disabled peers to the greatest extent appropriate and only removed from the general education setting when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

In the United Kingdom, the Equality Act 2010 provides protection from discrimination for people with disabilities and requires employers, service providers and providers of education to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled people are not at a substantial disadvantage compared to people who are not disabled.

Similarly, in Canada, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and require that individuals with disabilities be provided with equal access to education and other opportunities.

In Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the ground of their disability and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 provides a framework for the provision of education to students with disabilities.

Overall, laws regarding inclusion tend to require that individuals with disabilities be provided with equal access to education and other opportunities, and that reasonable accommodations be made to ensure that they are not at a disadvantage compared to their non-disabled peers.

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