Nearly 240 million children in the world today have some form of disability (higher than previous figures), which calls for shared responsibility, accountability and working together to ensure that all children, including children with disabilities, are able to achieve their inherent potential.
In the Latest report on children with disabilities “Seen Counted, Included”, the UNICEF showed that the lives of many children with disabilities are marked by deep exclusion and deprivation. It said that Children who have difficulties in more than one domain are even more deprived: 53 per cent are stunted: just 31 per cent receive early stimulation and responsive care in the first, most critical years of life, and 43 per cent are out of school by upper-secondary school age.
Children with certain functional difficulties may experience particularly high levels of exclusion. For instance, children with difficulties communicating or caring for themselves are several times less likely to attend school than children who do not have difficulties in these domains, children with disabilities from poor socioeconomic backgrounds experience compounded deprivations.
Compared with children without disabilities, children with disabilities are
34 per cent more likely to be stunted
25 per cent more likely to be wasted
53 per cent more likely to have symptoms of acute respiratory infection
25 per cent less likely to receive early stimulation and responsive care
25 per cent less likely to attend early childhood education
16 per cent less likely to read or be read to at home
42 per cent less likely to have foundational reading and numeracy skills
49 per cent more likely to have never attended school
47 per cent more likely to be out of primary school
33 per cent more likely to be out of lower-secondary school
27 per cent more likely to be out of upper-secondary school
32 per cent more likely to experience severe corporal punishment
41 per cent more likely to feel discriminated against
5 per cent more likely to feel unhappy
20 per cent less likely to have expectations of a better life
All social services and environments are inclusive and accessible, so that community-based care and assistance, critical information and opportunities to play and engage are available to every child, in times of stability as well as in humanitarian emergencies.
Education is inclusive and accessible, so that children with disabilities can go to school in their communities and learn alongside their peers without disabilities.
Children with disabilities are protected against violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, are able to benefit from birth registration and family support, and can seek child-friendly, disability-inclusive support and justice when their rights are violated.
Children with disabilities access psychosocial support, so that they are able to maintain their wellbeing and receive care for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Stigma and discrimination against children with disabilities and their families are eradicated, and the voices of children with disabilities are heard.
Children with disabilities and their families are covered by adequate social protection that supports their individual needs, links them with critical services, and helps break the cycle of poverty, deprivation and exclusion.
Parents and caregivers of children with disabilities receive support to raise their children in the best way possible while maintaining their own mental health and well-being.
Robust, relevant and inclusive data are generated at regular intervals. These data are used to raise awareness of rights violations and to design, implement and evaluate interventions aimed at preventing such violations, Including children with disabilities in all aspects of life must be a priority. Every child, everywhere, has something to offer.