Children with disabilities need to be counted, so that we know who they are, where they are, and what their needs are.
Current figures of children with disabilities may not accurately reflect the real picture, as many who live in institutions, are hidden away by families, or live on the streets, are excluded.
Challenges in measuring disability
It can be difficult to assess the age and cultural variations in children's abilities and developmental milestones. There is also a limited understanding of what 'disability' is, compounded by stigma and poor measurement indicators.
A good place to start is the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth (ICF-CY), which defines disability in terms of the impairment and its effect on children's functioning and participation in their environment.
Screening, assessment and intervention
Measuring disability promotes action for children through screening and assessment of their disability, as well as intervention planning.
To improve our knowledge on child disability, we need to set clear objectives for data collection, localise the assessment tools, ask questions appropriate to a child's age, and reach children in low-income communities.
Governments and communities cannot delay action any more. It is time to make children with disabilities count.
More information visit: http://www.unicef.org/sowc2013/