01 July 2015

Study on children with disabilities from birth to four years old

This assignment has been undertaken at the request of the South African National Department of Basic Education and United Nations Children’s Fund South Africa, with the aim of: Investigating the barriers that parents, caregivers and Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners of children with disabilities (CWD) encounter when navigating ECD services  Identifying pragmatic resources to promote early identification of disability by parents, caregivers and ECD practitioners Developing accessible, easy-to-use resources for parents, caregivers and ECD practitioners to utilise in navigating public and private sector services such that children with disabilities will, as they near compulsory school-going age, better access their right to an education  A literature review informed the methodologies selected for primary data collection and analysis, as well as the choice of screening tools to be field-tested. The study relied on four qualitative data collection methods to increase the validity of findings and aid detailed understanding of what the problems are, and what can be done to bridge policy implementation gaps. Methods included: Focus group discussions Semi-structured group interviews Observations recorded in field notes Structured telephonic key informant interviews Data was collected from three groups of people who voluntarily consented to participating, from ECD centres located in Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Free State: Parents or caregivers of children with disabilities ECD practitioners working with children under the age of four Key informants with experience in ECD and disability  Data collected was synthesised and analysed using manual thematic analysis.
01 July 2012

Children with Disabilities in South Africa

South Africa’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1995 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007 has facilitated the implementation of programmes towards the fulfilment of the rights of children, and indeed people with disabilities in the country. However, significant knowledge gaps remain with regard to the situation of children with disabilities, their family and community environment, the underlying causes of their situations, and the adequacy of efforts by government and non-government actors to fulfil their rights. This situation analysis seeks to fill these knowledge gaps. The study addresses the following questions: What is the extent of disability among children in South Africa? What is the extent of inequities and unfulfilled rights of children with disabilities? What factors have contributed to the adequacy (or inadequacy) of actions by the State and society at large? What are strategic opportunities for further progress towards the fulfilment of the rights of all children with disabilities? The study is based on an analysis of both primary data and secondary data. Primary data was collected through focus group discussions, stakeholder consultations and key informant interviews. Secondary data comprised a desk review of available literature and research material on childhood disability. Sources included census and national household survey data from Stats SA, community-level studies, published material from local and international sources, academic dissertations, studies commissioned by various government departments, legislation, policies and strategies relating to services for children with disabilities, and recent strategic plans of relevant government departments.