Research and data on child disability are scarce, hindering the development of effective policies and programmes

The 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities establishes that children with “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments” should enjoy the same human rights and freedoms as other children. The Convention goes on to say: “In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration,” and  “…children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them.”

Discrimination against children with disabilities often leads to reduced access to basic social services, especially education, and general lack of recognition. Addressing discrimination and promoting inclusion is an issue of concern in all sectors, and can be accomplished through information and advocacy, strengthening policy and facilitating access to services. The development of relevant policies and programmes, however, has been constrained by a lack of precise data on children with disabilities. This is due mainly to inadequate data collection and research on the subject, especially in developing countries. No reliable global estimates on child disability are therefore currently available, although efforts to remedy the situation are well under way.