The Working Group on Including Children with Special Needs held a day-long discussion and two panel presentations at the 2011 World Forum on Early Care and Education in Honolulu, Hawaii. There, we realized the critical need for a permanent Working Group on Inclusion, fueled in part by the statistics reported in Betz’s UNESCO Policy Brief on Early Childhood presented at the 2009 World Forum in Belfast:
“Worldwide, there are about 650 million persons with disabilities. This accounts for 10% of the global population, and constitutes more than 20% of the world’s poorest people. Children with disabilities experience stigma from birth and are more prone to exclusion, concealment, abandonment, institutionalization, and abuse. Mortality rates among children with disabilities are 80%, even in countries where under-five mortality has declined below 20%. Strikingly, 98% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school.”
We discussed both the challenges and accomplishments of working with children with disabilities in our respective countries, including prevention, identification, cultural considerations, successful practices, funding concerns, working with families, and much more. Our discussions and deliberations have re-fueled the determination of the delegates to work together to promote inclusion, and we are determined to work toward fulfilling the early childhood education charge of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), advocating early assessment, intervention, and inclusion for our youngest children worldwide.
Roberta J. Goldberg, Ph.D., United States
Kirsten Haugen, United States
Anne Sivanathan, Malaysia
Deepak Raj Sapkota, Nepal
We invite you to learn more about us and join us.