Early childhood education services have a responsibility to continue to provide reasonable adjustments to support children with disability to participate in early learning and education.
While the NDIS may provide individualised funding to some children, the Early Childhood Education sector will continue to be responsible for the education and care needs of children in their services.
Some children will require adjustments to be made within an early childhood setting so that they can access the daily activities and routines on their same basis as their friends at the service.
Each child with a disability should have a plan developed by parents, carers, educators and relevant professionals. The plan should consider their skills, strengths and interests and will take into account whether any adjustments need to be made and what these might look like.
A reasonable adjustment could be:
- placing tables in the playroom that enable a child in a wheelchair to move independently in the playroom
- the educator wearing an FM microphone to enable a child with a hearing impairment to hear in a busy and noisy environment
- installing lever taps and grab rails in a bathroom to promote independent self-care skills
- building ramps to enable access to the common building entrances.
Early Childhood teachers and educators play an integral role in working in partnership with children with disability and their families/carers to connect with the various agencies, including early childhood intervention, assessment and support services. It is also vital for services to ensure educational programs within an early childhood education setting are aligned with the goals and aspirations identified in each child's NDIS plan.
The NDIS does not change the obligations of early childhood providers and services under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Services and providers are required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure children with disability have the opportunity to access and participate fully in their education environments on the same basis as children without disability.