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PROGRESS FOR CHILDREN: A WORLD FIT FOR CHILDREN STATISTICAL REVIEW View Previous Editions>

Children with disabilities

Children with disabilities

World Fit for Children target: Adopt special measures to eliminate discrimination against children on the basis of [...] disability [...]

Discrimination experienced by children with disabilities may affect their health and educational achievement; it may limit these children’s opportunities for participation and put them at a higher risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. The extent of discrimination against children with disabilities has been difficult to quantify because of a lack of data. To address this, in 2005 UNICEF implemented a module in the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) designed to identify children with congenital and developmental disabilities, with results being reported here for the first time.

MICS data reveal a wide variation among countries in the percentage of children 2–9 years old who screened positive on disability, ranging from 2 per cent in Uzbekistan to 35 per cent in Djibouti. Variations in the rates of disability can be caused by children’s nutritional status, exposure to environmental risks, the occurrence of accidents or conflict, chronic and infectious disease patterns, and differences in public health services and practices. While the likelihood of disability thus varies depending on the country’s overall environment, research also suggests that there is a core incidence of children with disabilities in any given society, much of it related to congenital impairments.

Disability is defined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2007) as including persons “who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

LEVELS OF DISABILITY VARY WIDELY AMONG COUNTRIES...

Percentage of children aged 2–9 with at least one disability, in 17 countries surveyed (2005)

 

... AND WITHIN COUNTRIES: THE CASE OF CAMEROON

Percentage of children aged 2–9 with at least one disability (2005)

Regional differences in the prevalence of child disability may reflect uneven levels of economic and social development and specific local risks, as well as different levels of access to preventive services, treatment and care.

 

How disability is measured in MICS
The MICS module is based on the ‘Ten Questions Screen‘ for childhood disability. The parent or caregiver is asked for a personal assessment of the child’s physical and mental development and functioning. The results presented here refer to the percentages of children who screened positive on these questions and may be considered as an indication of the percentages of children who are likely to have a disability. These children may require further medical and developmental assessment.

Source for fi gures on this page: UNICEF global databases, 2007, based on MICS in 17 countries (2005). Data for Iraq are for children aged 2–14.