Reasonable accommodation

Reasonable accommodation for children attending early childhood services when considering HS29 - Medicine training.

Although not part of the licensing criteria against which early childhood services are assessed, services are required to make reasonable efforts to accommodate children with medication needs arising from a disability or illness.

What is reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable accommodation is defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2007 as ‘necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In practice, it is a balancing act, and it will look different for every service provider. The goal is to enable inclusion of a child and their whānau as best as possible.

How can this apply to the administration of medicine?

If a child has a complex care situation, service providers need to identify how many staff need to be trained to administer any medication that is required and ensure their training needs are met. Failure to make reasonable efforts to accommodate children with disabilities could be a breach of Part 2 of the Human Rights Act 1993.

The Human Rights Commission’s guide on ‘Reasonable Accommodation of persons with disabilities in New Zealand’ provides more assistance. The Human Rights Commission recommends consideration of the following factors:

  • Effectiveness of any adjustment in assisting a person with disabilities to access and interact.
  • Whether it is practical to make an adjustment.
  • If there is a financial component to making an adjustment.
  • Availability of resources to undertake an adjustment.
  • How much disruption, if any, will be caused to other people by the adjustment.

It is important to have open and honest conversations about what can be reasonably accommodated. This does not have to be an isolated exercise for service providers and there is support available. Service providers can look to obtain support from other organisations such as local NGOs, the child’s medical team, the child’s family, and other government agencies such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Disabled People.

You can contact us to discuss appropriate support.

Additional resources

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