Themes: Disability Inclusive ECD

Themes: Disability Inclusive ECD’s Docs Themes: Disability Inclusive ECD

Early childhood is a critical period of human development because it influences outcomes across the entire life course.  For all children, the period of early childhood provides an important window of opportunity to establish the foundation for life-long learning and participation.  Interventions in early childhood can prevent potential developmental delays or ensure early support for children with disabilities so all children can reach their full potential.  The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) defines persons with disabilities as people “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.” A disability is neither purely biological nor social, but an interaction between health conditions and environmental and personal factors.  Some children are born with disabilities, while others may experience disability due to illness, injury or poor nutrition.  The complex interaction between a health condition or impairment and environmental and personal factors means that each child’s experience of disability is different.

While the identification of children with developmental delays or disabilities is critical for the development of policies, strategic planning and service provision, it is important to acknowledge that children with disabilities may not consider themselves as disabled. Working with children with disabilities requires carefully tailored approaches. Stigma and discrimination are among the most disabling factors requiring attention and solutions. Labelling a child solely in terms of a health condition or learning limitations should be avoided. They are children first and aspire to participate in family and peer-group activities. Strengths-based approaches and approaches that consider developmental and functioning profiles are more likely to foster development, rather than deficit-based approaches. Additionally, research supports the finding that inclusion does not solely benefit children with disabilities, but rather inclusion has a positive impact on all children–regardless of their abilities.

Despite being more vulnerable to developmental risks, young children with disabilities are often overlooked in programs and services designed to ensure child development.  As a result, most children with disabilities do not receive the specific supports required to meet their rights and needs.  Many children with disabilities are not provided the same quality education, nurturing care, health care, and social protection as their peers.  Children with disabilities and their families are confronted by barriers including inadequate legislation and policies, negative attitudes, inadequate services (including education), lack of proper resources, lack of accessible environments, and lack of adequate funding for necessary interventions from the government.  If children with developmental delays and/or disabilities and their families are not provided with timely and appropriate early intervention, nurturing care, support and protection, their difficulties can become more severe—often leading to lifetime consequences, increased poverty, and profound exclusion.

When children, their families and communities are afforded appropriate intervention and support, right from the start, they develop, prosper, and contribute to societies in significant ways. Using a twin-track approach is of upmost importance here; this involves combining disability mainstreaming with disability-specific interventions that are needed to achieve the full inclusion, participation, health, and wellbeing of people with disabilities.  These targeted interventions are developed to identify the specific needs of children with disabilities while also ensuring that disability inclusion is mainstreamed throughout policies and services from birth onward.  With this two-way approach we simultaneously enhance the strength, integrity, and quality of systems serving ALL children, those with disabilities and those without.

This thematic page provides resources for those interested in understanding how to help children with disabilities during early childhood, and thereby enhancing the quality of ECD interventions for all children.

Key Facts about ECD and Disability

  • An estimated 93 million children worldwide live with disabilities.
  • 250 million children are at risk of suboptimal development in LMICs.1, 2
  • Nearly 50 percent of children with disabilities are not in school, compared to only 13 percent of their peers without disabilities.

 

Resources

The Inclusive Education and Early Childhood Community of Practice:  This group focuses on knowledge sharing and advocacy for funding of disability inclusive education, starting in early childhood. The group meets bi-monthly, with community members and guest speakers presenting regarding topics related to inclusive education and early childhood issues – especially for children with disabilities. Please sign up and express interest in joining here.

 

General Websites

Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities.html

UNICEF https://www.unicef.org/topics/children-disabilities

UNICEF, Inclusive education and early childhood development, https://www.unicef.org/kosovoprogramme/what-we-do/inclusive-education-and-ecd

https://www.light-for-the-world.org/leave-no-child-behind-invest-early-years

Inclusive Practice in Early Childhood Development and Education   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTs63nI9Ack

Insert various UNESCO fresources around Cali conference and new partnerships, e.g., https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OBpzwQzHFDOLNgIU0LjJm2sMo1eLqOdc/view

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guKE0DCM5sw    https://omep-bg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Global-Partnership-Strategy-for-Early-Childhood-2021.pdf

https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2020/inclusion

 

Briefs and Reports

Wertlieb, D. (2018), “Inclusive Early Childhood Development: Ensuring The Rights And Well-Being Of Infants And Toddlers With Disabilities And Their Families”, Zero to Three

Mizunoya, S., Mitra, S., Yamasaki, I. (2016). “Towards Inclusive Education: The impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries”, Innocenti Working Papers no. 2016-03, UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, Florence     https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/845-towards-inclusive-education-the-impact-of-disability-on-school-attendance-in-developing.html

Lynch, P. (2016), Early childhood development (ECD) and children with disabilities,

DFID: HEART, https://www.heart-resources.org/reading_pack/early-childhood-development-ecd-children-disabilities/=

Turner, M. and Morgan, A. Opening eyes onto inclusion and diversity in early childhood education,

WHO (2012), Early Childhood Development and Disability: A discussion paper,

https://sites.unicef.org/disabilities/files/ECD-and-Disability-WHO-2012(1).pdf

Light for the World, Global Report: Leave No Child Behind, Invest in the Early Years

https://www.light-for-the-world.org/leave-no-child-behind-invest-early-years

 

Program Guidance, Training

UNICEF (2018), Essential Component Framework for Child Care and Family Support: through multi-sectoral interventions focusing on children affected by the Zika virus, other congenital malformations and developmental disabilities, https://www.unicef.org/lac/media/9636/file/PDF%20Essential%20Component%20Framework%20for%20Child%20Care%20and%20Family%20Support.pdf

UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Region, Programmatic Guidance Notes for Country Offices on Children and Adolescents with Disabilities, https://www.unicef.org/lac/media/6776/file/Programmatic%20guidance%20notes%20for%20country%20offices%20on%20children%20and%20adolescents%20with%20disabilities..pdf

Inclusive early childhood education training videos, https://www.eenet.org.uk/inclusive-early-childhood-education-training-videos/

 

Research

Global Research on Developmental Disabilities Collaborators (2016), “Developmental disabilities among children younger than”, Lancet, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30309-7/fulltext#seccestitle10

Smythe, T. et al., (2021), “Early intervention for children with developmental disabilities in low and middle-income countries – the case for action”, International Health, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 222–231, https://doi.org/10.1093/inthealth/ihaa044

Soni, A. et al. (2020), “Facilitating the Participation of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Development Centres in Malawi: Developing a Sustainable Staff Training Programme”, Sustainability 12, no. 5: 2104. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12052104

 

Blogs

https://www.light-for-the-world.org/inclusive-ecd-investment

 

Recording of Past Events

Nurturing Care for Children with Developmental Delays and Disabilities, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNDZpaC23yw

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