Seeing the child before the disability – UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s Children report.

On May 30th, 2013, in Da Nang, Viet Nam, UNICEF released their annual report: State of the World’s Children 2013: Children with Disabilities, which discussed how children with disabilities and their communities benefit when society at large focuses on what these children can achieve instead of focusing on what they cannot achieve. The report shows how societies can include children with disabilities. This inclusion not only benefits children with disabilities; it benefits society as these children reach their full potential.

Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, states, “When you see the disability before the child, it is not only wrong for the child, but it deprives society of all that child has to offer. Their loss is society’s loss; their gain is society’s gain.” Currently, many of these children are excluded; many are cut off from much needed social services and legal protections because their birth is often unregistered. Mr. Lake continues, “For children with disabilities to count, they must be counted – at birth, at school, and in life.”

According to the press release shared yesterday, UNICEF’s report states that children with disabilities are the “least likely to receive health care or go to school. They are among the most vulnerable to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, particularly if they are hidden or put into institutions – as many are because of social stigma or the economic cost of raising them.” Economic and social factors influence the marginalization of these children, along with gender (as girls with disabilities are less likely to receive food and care than boys are). Yet at this time, there is little data on the number of children with disabilities, what types of disabilities these children have, and how the disabilities affect them and their lives. Due to this lack of data, few governments have dependable guides to allocate resources to be able to support and assist these children.

The report urges governments to keep their promises to children with disabilities. The report shares that one third of the world’s countries has failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and urges governments to not only ratify it, but also to implement CRPD and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Please visit UNICEF to read their press release, their report, and their mission in full. UNICEF shares a short video version of their press release. If you are a parent, guardian, or care giver of a child with disabilities, please visit our Librarian’s Picks which shares useful resources and information. If you are the parent of an adult child with disabilities, here are some resources that may prove helpful along with the Librarian’s Picks mentioned. Please feel free to search our resources and publications; search our databases: Knowledgebase, REHABDATA, or the NIDRR Program Database; or please contact us via phone (800/346-2742), chat, or email.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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