This advocacy brief from the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and Leonard Cheshire draws attention to the main barriers to education for girls with disabilities, in the context of major opportunities for advocacy and tangible change in 2021. The recommendations outlined are targeted at world leaders, governments, ministries, UN agencies and NGOs. They offer a framework for rights-based action and principles towards gender-responsive and inclusive education, to ensure that no girls with disabilities are left behind.
Background: Albinism in humans is characterised by a reduced amount of pigment (melanin) present in the skin, hair follicles and the eye; approximately 7000–10 000 Malawians of all ages are affected. Children with these features face extreme forms of human rights abuses, even death.
Objectives: This study aims to describe Malawian mothers’ experiences, perceptions and understanding of raising children with albinism (CWA).
Methods: The study was conducted in 2018 using a qualitative descriptive design, with purposive sampling and voluntary participation. Mothers, 18 years and older, who had given birth to a CWA and who attended the dermatology clinic of a local public hospital participated. An interview guide used during standardised, open-ended interviews was translated from English to Chichewa using forward and backward translation. Interviews were conducted in Chichewa, audio recorded, transcribed and forward and back translated from English to Chichewa. Thematic data analysis was employed.
Results: The mean age of participants (N = 10) was 33 years; two had albinism. Emerging themes confirmed the existence of myths and stereotypes regarding albinism but from the mothers’ perspectives. Mothers reported: (1) some experiences of emotional pain, initially, but also love and acceptance of their children, despite adverse reactions of others; (2) their experiences of stigmatisation of their children and themselves, and of intended harm to their children, and (3) their own lack of knowledge and understanding of albinism.
Conclusion: In our limited study, mothers’ self-reported experiences of raising CWA in Malawi highlight the need for educational programmes on albinism at national level, particularly for families with a CWA, health professionals and educators.
Background: The last decade has seen researchers and speech–language pathologists employ and advocate for a disability studies approach in the study of the lived experiences of people who stutter and in the design of interventions and treatment approaches for such individuals. Joshua St. Pierre, one of the few theorists to explore stuttering as a disability, mentions as a key issue the liminal nature of people who stutter when describing their disabling experiences.
Objectives: This article aimed to build on the work of St. Pierre, exploring the liminal nature of people who stutter.
Method: Drawing on my personal experiences of stuttering as a coloured South African man, I illuminated the liminal nature of stuttering.
Results: This analytic autoethnography demonstrates how the interpretation of stuttering as the outcome of moral failure leads to the discrimination and oppression of people who stutter by able-bodied individuals as well as individuals who stutter.
Conclusion: As long as stuttering is interpreted as the outcome of moral failure, the stigma and oppression, as well as the disablism experience by people who stutter, will continue to be concealed and left unaddressed.
Rehabilitation is described as a set of measures to optimise the functioning of individuals, and is important for wellbeing, participation and quality of life. Rehabilitation includes diagnosis, treatments, surgeries, assistive devices and therapies. Not all people who need rehabilitation are people with disabilities, and not all people with disabilities need rehabilitation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently estimated that 1 in 3 people globally (2.41 billion people) would benefit from rehabilitation: this number has increased nearly two thirds since 1990, due to population growth and increase in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). In contrast, there are estimated to be less than 10 skilled rehabilitation practitioners per million population in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), and only 5 – 15% of people in need of assistive devices are thought to have received them.
Evidence is reviewed and recommendations provided
Purpose: To compare outcomes in employed people from an enhanced routine management pathway for musculoskeletal disorders within National Health Service Scotland with an existing active case-management system, Working Health Services Scotland.
Materials and methods: The study comprised a service evaluation using anonymised routinely collected data from all currently employed callers presenting with musculoskeletal disorder to the two services. Baseline demographic and clinical data were collected. EuroQol EQ-5DTM scores at the start and end of treatment were compared for both groups, overall and by age, sex, socio-economic status, and anatomical site, and the impact of mental health status at baseline was evaluated.
Results: Active case-management resulted in greater improvement than enhanced routine care. Case-managed service users entered the programme earlier in the recovery pathway; there was evidence of spontaneous improvement during the longer waiting time of routine service clients but only if they had good baseline mental health. Those most disadvantaged through mental health co-morbidity showed the greatest benefit.
Conclusions: People with musculoskeletal disorders who have poor baseline mental health status derive greatest benefit from active case-management. Case-management therefore contributes to reducing health inequalities and can help to minimise long-term sickness absence. Shorter waiting times contrib- uted to better outcomes in the case-managed service.
Purpose: To evaluate the effects of a combination of wheelchair mobility skills (WMS) training and exer- cise training on physical activity (PA), WMS, confidence in wheelchair mobility, and physical fitness. Methods: Youth using a manual wheelchair (n 1⁄4 60) participated in this practice-based intervention, with a waiting list period (16 weeks), exercise training (8 weeks), WMS training (8 weeks), and follow-up (16 weeks). Repeated measures included: PA (Activ8), WMS (Utrecht Pediatric Wheelchair Mobility Skills Test), confidence in wheelchair mobility (Wheelchair Mobility Confidence Scale), and physical fitness (cardio- respiratory fitness, (an)aerobic performance) and were analysed per outcome parameter using a multilevel model analyses. Differences between the waiting list and training period were determined with an unpaired sample t-test.
Results: Multilevel model analysis showed significant positive effects for PA (p1⁄40.01), WMS (p<0.001), confidence in wheelchair mobility (p<0.001), aerobic (p<0.001), and anaerobic performance (p<0.001). Unpaired sample t-tests underscored these effects for PA (p<0.01) and WMS (p<0.001). There were no effects on cardiorespiratory fitness. The order of training (exercise before WMS) had a significant effect on confidence in wheelchair mobility.
Conclusions: A combination of exercise and WMS training appears to have significant positive long-term effects on PA, WMS, confidence in wheelchair mobility, and (an)aerobic performance in youth using a manual wheelchair.
Purpose: To translate and cross-culturally adapt the Chelsea Critical Care Physical Assessment tool from English to German (CPAx-GE) and to examine its validity and reliability.
Materials and methods: Following a forward-backward translation including an expert round table dis- cussion, the measurement properties of the CPAx-GE were explored in critically ill, mechanically ventilated adults. We investigated construct, cross-sectional, and cross-cultural validity of the CPAx-GE with other measurement instruments at pre-specified timepoints, analysed relative reliability with intraclass correl- ation coefficients (ICCs) and determined absolute agreement with the Bland–Altman plots.
Results: Consensus for the translated CPAx-GE was reached. Validity was excellent with >80% of the pre- specified hypotheses accepted at baseline, critical care, and hospital discharge. Interrater reliability was high (ICCs > 0.8) across all visits. Limit of agreement ranged from 2 to 2 points. Error of measurement was small, floor, and ceiling effects limited.
Conclusions: The CPAx-GE demonstrated excellent construct, cross-sectional, and cross-cultural validity as well as high interrater reliability in critically ill adults with prolonged mechanical ventilation at baseline, critical care, and hospital discharge. Consequently, the CPAx-GE can be assumed equal to the original and recommended in the German-speaking area to assess physical function and activity of critically ill adults across the critical care and hospital stay.
Introduction: The western world is seeking increased implementation of assistive technology (AT) to meet the challenges of an ageing population. The objective of this study is to explore perspectives on AT use among home-dwelling older adults with or without cognitive impairment.
Methods: This study combines findings from a cross-sectional study with a questionnaire package (n = 83) and from qualitative individual interviews (n = 7) and is part of a larger study, the Assisted Living Project. Combining methods promotes complementary inquiries into a phenomenon.
Results: The participants already use ATs: TVs, social alarms, mobile phones, stove timers, electronic med- ical dispensers, PCs and tablet computers. They were both optimistic and skeptical of AT, and expressed different perspectives and expressed different perspectives on ATs in relation to usability, privacy and fear of losing personal face-to-face care.
Conclusions: This study reveals that older adults’ perspectives on AT are multifaceted and complex, and can partly be explained by the interacting factors in the HAAT model: person, technology, environment, and context. Further exploration in relation to older adults with health challenges, as well as ethical per- spectives on AT implementation, is required for this group.
The disadvantages experienced by adult persons with disabilities are well documented. However, limited evidence is available on the extent of differences in comparison with the non- disabled population. In this study, selected indicators of social status and mental wellbeing derived from past research, were used with national samples of adult persons in Ireland with a disability (n = 440) and without a disability (n = 880) recruited through household quota sampling. In addition, comparisons were drawn with equivalent data derived from a contemporaneous national census. Although many of the differences were statistically significant, the effect sizes were mostly medium to low. Moreover, when the inter-relationships among the various indicators was taken into account using Discriminant Analysis, persons with disabilities were less likely to be employed; they reported lower levels of social engagement and had poorer emotional wellbeing. They were also older, more likely to be single and have no children. The study illustrates the potential of using comparative data to monitor the impact of national actions taken to reduce the inequalities experienced by persons with disability as well as highlighting the arenas into which professional supports need to be focused.
Globally, there is limited research on how deaf and hard of hearing adults experience higher education and work. The purpose of the present study is to examine hard of hearing (HH) adults’ experiences of social interactions and social relationships in higher education, the workplace and leisure time. Data were obtained from semistructured interviews with 16 individuals (aged 24–31 years) from diverse cultural backgrounds (10 males and 6 females) with severe-to-profound hearing loss. Participants were selected based on previous expressed interest in participating in further studies after having been involved in an earlier study. The interviews were subjected to a qualitative thematic data analysis. According to the results, people with a hearing loss experience communication barrier in higher education, at work and in leisure time. These communication barriers lead to difficulties achieving social inclusion, and in some circumstances to social exclusion. Assistive technology (AT) and information and communication technologies (ICT) were important facilitators of moving from social exclusion towards social inclusion.
This is an updated evidence review looking at the evidence on factors affecting access to and uptake of family planning for women and girls with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries and the evidence on good practice on increasing full free and informed contraceptive choice for women and girls with disabilities.
1) What is the evidence on factors affecting access to and uptake of family planning for women and girls with disabilities in low and middle income countries, highlighting examples from FP2020 commitment-making countries?
2) What is the evidence on good practice on increasing full free and informed contraceptive choice for women and girls with disabilities – from the same countries or elsewhere?
The Indonesia Skills to Succeed program provides employability skills training and job linkage support to youth with disabilities so they are able to obtain work. The program also organizes working groups with employers to advocate for changes that make workplaces more inclusive of youth with disabilities. Achievements to date and lessons learnt are outlined.
Persons with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, both directly because of infection, and indirectly because of restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus. Persons with disabilities are a diverse group, and the risks, barriers and impacts faced by them will vary in different contexts according to, among other factors, their age, gender identity, type of disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and migration status.
This document presents considerations and actions for the following stakeholders to ensure equity in access to vaccination against COVID‑19 for persons with disabilities:
− Persons with disabilities and their support networks
− Health service providers delivering vaccinations
− Organizations of persons with disabilities
− Disability service providers
− Residential institutions and long-term care facilities
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected communities globally, yet the impact has not been equal. People with disabilities were already often living with severe disadvantage and marginalisation and, as predicted by many disability-focused agencies, Covid-19 has exacerbated these inequalities. Emerging evidence from Inclusive Futures, a UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)-funded programme, highlights the catastrophic emotional and material impacts on people with disabilities in Nepal and Bangladesh. To respond to and plan for future crises, decision makers should consult inclusively with both organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) and people with disabilities themselves.
Purpose: To determine the prevalence and severity of manual wheelchair rear wheel misalignment in community-dwelling manual wheelchair users and estimate the associated increases in rolling resistance (RR) and risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs).
Materials and Methods: Data were collected in an outpatient rehabilitation clinic, a university research laboratory, and at adaptive sporting events in the United States. Two hundred active, self-propelling man- ual wheelchair users were recruited. Angular misalignment (referred to as toe angle) while the wheelchair was loaded with the user, and the difference between the maximum and minimum toe angle (referred to as slop) with the wheelchair unloaded.
Results: Average results for toe angle and slop (movement in the rear wheels) were 0.92 and 0.61 degrees, respectively. Using a lab-based testing method, we quantified the impact of increased RR forces due to misalignment in increased RR forces. Our results indicate that the average toe angle while under load and slop, without loading, measured in the community increase required propulsion force by 3.0 N. Combined toe angle and slop (i.e., the worst-case scenario) added increased propulsion force by 3.9 N. Conclusions: We found that rear-wheel misalignment was prevalent and severe enough that it may increase the risk for RSIs and decrease participation. To mitigate this issue, future work should focus on reducing misalignment through improved maintenance interventions and increased manufacturing qual- ity through more stringent standards.
Purpose: This research paper examines how contouring of a wheelchair seating base can help prevent pressure sores by distributing pressure over the buttocks. Contouring wheelchair cushioning is already done to some extent and has proved to be beneficial for pressure distribution. We researched the effect of contouring the seating base, and whether contouring the seating base affects effectiveness in pressure distribution and perceived discomfort.
Materials & methods: 13 healthy participants performed a within-subject experiment with three differ- ently contoured seating bases. Perceived comfort and seating pressure were measured for each condition.
Results: Results indicate that a more contoured base is positive for both comfort and increased pressure distribution.
Conclusions: Contoured seating bases can provide increased comfort and improved pressure distribution over flat seating bases. Future research should examine the effect of contouring on stability, as well as compare the effects of contoured seating bases and contoured cushions.
This document was developed to guide procurement of assistive products. It is intended primarily for procurement teams working in less resourced settings. It should be read alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) publication A manual for public procurement of assistive products, accessories, spare parts and related services, which sets out the procurement process in detail, including key steps and good practice
The document is a compilation of 26 model specifications describing the assistive product functional requirements and related services to be considered in procurement. The document also provides guiding information on how to adapt and apply the model specifications in tender processes
Purpose: Only 1 in 10 people with disabilities can access assistive devices, underlining the critical need for low-cost assistive products. This paper describes the design evolution of a manual user-operated standing wheelchair (SWC), translating from prototype to product.
Methods: The SWC design has been refined over 5 years through multiple iterations based on comments from user trials. The SWC product, Arise, provides standing functionality, facile outdoor mobility, afford- ability, customisability, and is aesthetically pleasing. A one-time fitting and training ensure optimal effort for operation, correct posture, and comfortable user experience. The SWC accommodates users of differ- ent sizes and body weights (up to 110kg) and minimises user effort with the use of a gas spring. Incorporating discrete adjustments enables customisation while retaining the advantages of mass manu- facturing, which is necessary for ensuring affordability.
Results: The SWC has been field-tested and well received by over 100 wheelchair users, and Arise was launched recently by the industry partner.
Conclusions: It should be noted that RESNA cautions on the use of any standing device without medical consultation. Nevertheless, with appropriate dissemination and awareness, it is anticipated that the afford- able SWC product, Arise, will immensely benefit the eligible users and make a difference in their quality of life.
This article invites readers to engage with girls and women with disabilities in the global South. It challenges the epistemological domination of Western disability studies in Southern bodies and contexts, and provides one specific way to read the intersection between disability, gender, and ethnicity in the context of Vietnam. Drawing on the politics of engagement developed within the Transforming Disability Knowledge, Research, and Activism project, we argue for recognizing the lingering impacts of colonialism and imperialism in producing disability and impairment in the South, while suggesting new ways of engaging with disabled girls and women through the use of inclusive, decolonial, and participatory methods.
The large-scale mainstreaming of disabled children in education in China was initiated with the launching of a national policy called ‘Learning in Regular Classrooms’ in the late 1980s. More than thirty years on, and little is known about disabled children’s daily experiences in regular schools due to a lack of research that foregrounds their voices. This paper reports the main findings from an ethnographic study conducted in 4 state- funded primary schools in Shanghai involving 11 children labelled as having ‘intellectual disabilities’, 10 class teachers and 3 resource teachers. Data were collected through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and child-friendly participatory activities, and thematically analysed to identify patterns in practices and beliefs that underpin the processes of inclusion and exclusion. The research found that the child participants were facing marginalisation in many aspects of school life with rather limited participation in decision-making. The exclusionary processes were reinforced by a prevailing special educational thinking and practice, a charitable approach to the disadvantaged in a Confucian society, and an extremely competitive and performative schooling culture. The findings address the need to hear disabled children’s voices to initiate a paradigm shift in understanding and practice to counterbalance deep-rooted barriers. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.
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