Reaction to the 2013 UNICEF Report on Children with Disabilities - Part 1

In it's recently published report entitled State of the World’s Children 2013: Children With Disabilities UNICEF asserts, “International commitment to building more inclusive societies has resulted in improvements in the situation of children with disabilities and their families, but too many of them continue to face barriers to their participation in the civic, social and cultural affairs of their communities.”

It’s clear that we’ve made some advancement, especially in the US, but this should be our charge to do more.

The report continues, “Inclusion goes beyond integration. To take an example from the field of education, integration might be attempted simply by admitting children with disabilities to ‘regular’ schools. Inclusion, however, is possible only when schools are designed and administered so that all children can learn and play together.”  Consider the following visual:

As the UNICEF report states, inclusion is more than just dropping children with disabilities into traditional classrooms.  Inclusion requires deliberate mindfulness. To be successful, inclusion must be continually planned and evaluated.  It requires hard work and commitment.  It requires significant relationships between teachers, administrators, parents, support staff and the child in a way that encourages and develops true partnership.  It means that all of us have to think about the way we teach, the way we act and the way we speak.  Please be in touch to craft professional development opportunities for teachers and staff and/or workshops for students  and parents.

UNICEF tells us the welfare of children with disabilities isn’t grim and that, “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.”

Isn’t this what we want for all our children?

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