Inclusive health, education and protection services build a strong foundation on which children with disabilities can build fulfilling lives.
An inclusive approach to health gives children with disabilities equal rights to health care including immunisation, proper nutrition, treatment for childhood ailments and injuries, information and services on sexual and reproductive health, as well as basic services like clean toilet and sanitation facilities.
Additionally, there should be access to developmental screening for early detection of disabilities and interventions as part of public health services.
Data from 13 low- and middle-income countries show that children with disabilities aged 6-17 years are significantly less likely to be enrolled in school.
Inclusive education goes beyond school enrolment, but provides meaningful learning opportunities for all students within the regular school system, while tailoring support for individual students. Children themselves should be given the opportunity to articulate what they want in a learning environment, such as accessibility, privacy and clean toilets.
From early childhood education to the schooling years, appropriate learning opportunities can help children with disabilities to develop their full potential, seek employment, improve their health and reduce poverty.
Children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be victims of violence. Children with mental or intellectual disabilities are 4.6 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence.
Many discriminatory practices, including institutionalisation, separation from families and so-called behaviour modification treatment, expose children to shocking forms of violence, abuse and neglect.
All children with disabilities should be viewed as a high-risk group for abuse and be protected, whether at home, in residential care institutions, in the community, in disaster situations or in the justice system.
More information visit: https://www.unicef.org/sowc2013/