DISABILITY: Monitoring Child Disability in Developing Countries - Results from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys

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Children with disabilities may be more likely to face discrimination and restricted access to social services, including education. In many countries, children screening positive to the disability module participated in fewer early learning activities, but were only slightly less likely to attend school. Family resources and socioeconomic conditions were associated with child disability screening results.

Children from the poorest 60 per cent of households were frequently more likely to be at risk for disability than those from the wealthiest 40 per cent of homes. Children with increased risk for disabilities also appear to be more likely to face harsher disciple. Parents of children who screened positive for disability were significantly more likely to report using severe physical punishment in seven of the 15 countries providing discipline data, while children screening negative were reported to be more likely to receive physical punishment in two of the 15 countries. These results warrant further investigation into this important issue. The link between nutrition and child development has been well documented. We found several nutrition variables were associated with screening positive for child disability.

The percentage of children screening positive to the Disability Module was larger with increasing severity of stunting and underweight. In contrast, children who were ever breastfed or who received vitamin A supplementation screened positive less frequently than their peers who had not breastfed or received vitamin A supplementation. These findings point to the important link between child disability and nutrition, and an important target for interventions to prevent disability and improve quality of life of children with disabilities. Understanding which factors are most strongly associated with increased risk of disability can provide us with additional information about where to target interventions to prevent future cases of child disability and support the inclusion of children with disabilities.

To demonstrate the type of future analyses that could be conducted to address such questions, a multivariate analysis was conducted using data from one country. Results indicate that nutrition variables (breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation) are significantly associated with reduced risk for disability after controlling for other factors. This report substantially augments what is known about children with disabilities in developing countries, and suggests that large numbers of children across the world are at increased risk of disability. Future data collection efforts would benefit greatly from clinical and diagnostic evaluations for selected children based on their screening results and available resources.

In keeping with UNICEF's priority to protect and ensure the rights of all children, future monitoring efforts should include information about exclusion and other discrimination experienced by children with disabilities. Policies to address the needs of disabled children should be among the top priorities for global leaders.

pdf: http://www.childinfo.org/files/Monitoring_Child_Disability_in_Developing...

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