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Published by Vaishnavi Jayakumar
FULL REPORT Children with Disabilities : SOWC 2013 UNICEF report

FULL REPORT Children with Disabilities : SOWC 2013 UNICEF report


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Published by: Vaishnavi Jayakumar on May 31, 2013
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Source: World Health Organization, based on surveys in 51 countries.



hierarchy and traditional expectations of gender,

so the routine absence, misrepresentation or

stereotyping of people with disabilities creates

and reinforces social prejudices and leads to the

underestimation of the roles and place of people

with disabilities in society.

Similarly, participation in social activities helps

to promote a positive view of disability. Sport, in

particular, has helped overcome many societal

prejudices. Physical activity can be a powerful

means of promoting respect – it is inspirational

to see a child surmount the physical and psycho-

logical barriers to participation, including lack

of encouragement and support or limited adap-

tive equipment. In one study, physically active

children with disabilities were rated as more

competent than their non-disabled counterparts.11

However, care must be taken not to create an

artificial atmosphere in which children with dis-

abilities who demonstrate physical heroism are

deemed worthy and those who do not are made

to feel inferior.

Sport has also been helpful in campaigns to

reduce stigma. Athletes with disabilities are

often among the most recognized representa-

tives of people with disabilities, and many use

such platforms as the Paralympics and Special

Olympics to campaign and to become role

models for children with physical or intellectual

impairments. Moreover, experiences in Bosnia

and Herzegovina, the Lao People’s Democratic

Republic, Malaysia and the Russian Federation

show that access to sport and recreation is not

only of direct benefit to children with disabilities

but also helps to raise their standing in the com-

munity as they are seen to participate alongside

other children in activities valued by society.12

Encouraging children with disabilities to take

part in sport and recreation in company with all

their peers is more than a matter of changing

attitudes. It is a right and a specific requirement

of the CRPD, which instructs States parties to

“ensure that children with disabilities have equal

access with other children to participation in play,

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