“Given opportunities to flourish as others might, children with disabilities have the potential to lead fulfilling lives and to contribute to the social, cultural, and economic vitality of their communities.”
UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2013: Children With Disabilities report
[PDF] focuses on the abilities
of children with disabilities, and how kids can best thrive. Acknowledging the profound challenges—including poverty, stigma, exclusion, neglect, and lack of access to quality care—that children with disabilities across the globe face every day, the guide stresses that negative responses to disabilities are the problem that needs to be addressed. “What is needed,” states the report, “is a commitment to these children’s rights and their futures.”
The guide features the perspectives of a variety of children and adults with disabilities. Nancy Maguire, a disability activist, writes about her experience growing up with osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bones. Michael Hose, also an advocate for young people with disabilities, shares his experience of living in Tanzania with albinism. Nicolae Poraico describes growing up in Moldova and Romania with a moderate intellectual disability.
The report highlights the importance of changing attitudes about disability and supporting children and their families. Community-based rehabilitation programs are key, as is making assistive technologies accessible to all who need them. Among the guide’s recommended actions are involving children with disabilities in making decisions and ratifying and implementing the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities
and Convention on the Rights of the Child
in all countries.