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Disability inclusion in the United Nations system - Report of the Secretary General

SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
English
October 2020

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When launching the Strategy in June 2019, the Secretary-General stated that the United Nations would lead by example and raise its standards and performance on disability inclusion across all pillars of its work, from Headquarters to the field. The present report outlines the first steps on the path to achieving transformative and lasting change for persons with disabilities across the United Nations system

 

The report is organized into seven sections. Following the introduction, an overview of the advances made in the United Nations on disability inclusion, including the adoption of the Strategy, is provided in section II; the first year of implementation of the Strategy at the entity and country levels is reported on in section III; coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and recovery efforts are the focus of section IV; the overarching actions for implementation of the Strategy are considered in section V; challenges and opportunities are highlighted in section VI; and the conclusion and recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly are contained in section VII. The report provides an analysis of information from 57 United Nations entities1 that reported under the Strategy ’s entity accountability framework and seven United Nations country teams that completed the accountability scorecard on disability inclusion as part of a targeted roll-out.

Disability, stigma & the role of innovation - Disability innovation live

AUSTIN, Vicki
CAREW, Matthew
MIRZOYANTS, Anastasia
BARBARESCHI, Giulia
English
August 2020

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This webinar focussed on the role of stigma in preventing disability inclusion, and what enables it to be overcome, focused on innovative and creative methods

The speakers talked about:

  • Culture, Paralympic legacy & how innovation can change mindsets
  • Stigma research incorporating the perspectives of persons with disabilities & disability inclusive research processes
  • Kenyan youth & the perception of people with disabilities
  • Assistive technology, identity & the role of innovation

Microsoft at #DisabilityAdvantage: 2020 Disability:IN Annual Conference

NADELLA, Satya
LAY-FLURRIE, Jenny
English
July 2020

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The CEO of Microsoft talks about the cultural embedding of accessibility in the company. Topics covered include: building accessibility into technology products; remote working and schooling (particularly in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic); skilling and jobs for people with disabilities; the growth of captioning; the US Americans with Disability Act (ADA); intersectionality; inclusivity; and the future of AI products.

Measuring Stigma related to People with Albinism in Tanzania: A Cultural Validation Study of the EMIC-CSS and SDS among Adults

DE GROOT, Tjitske
JACQUET, Wolfgang
MEURS, Pieter
PETERS, Ruth
English
2020

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Purpose: People with albinism in Tanzania are severely stigmatised. A measurement tool to assess this stigmatisation among adults is lacking. This research aimed at the cultural validation of two Scales to measure stigma related to albinism: The Albinism Social Distance Scale (A-SDS) and the Albinism Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue Community Stigma Scale (A-EMIC-CSS).

 

Method: Conceptual, item, semantic and operational equivalences were evaluated through focus groups and interviews. A pilot study among adults attending religious institutes, as a representation of Tanzanian society, was conducted to assess the measurement equivalence. There were 101 respondents for the test and 79 respondents for the re-test.

 

Results: Conceptual, item, semantic and operational equivalences of the Scales are sufficient. In terms of measurement equivalence, the internal consistency of the A-SDS and A-EMIC-CSS are adequate. However, social desirability should be taken into account when interpreting the findings.

 

Conclusion and Implications: The insights provided by this article can aid in the development of tools to measure stigma cross-culturally and across stigmatising conditions. The combination of the two Scales for short and long-term effect measurement is recommended.

The Cultural Validation of Two Scales assessing Albinism - related Social Stigma among High School Students in Tanzania

GROOT, Tjitske de
PETERS, Ruth
BRAKEL, Wim van
MEURS, Pieter
JACQUET, Wolfgang
English
2019

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Purpose: Albinism in Tanzania causes fierce stigmatisation. Although various stigma reduction interventions (SRI) are employed, research on their effectiveness is lacking. This research aimed to develop a tool to measure albinism-related social stigma among high school students in Tanzania. Cultural equivalence was tested for the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue Community Stigma Scale (EMIC-CSS) and Albinism Social Distance Scale for Adolescents (ASDS-A) assessing conceptual, item, semantic, operational and measurement equivalence.

 

Methods: The methods used were workshops, in-depth interviews, translation and re-translation, discussions, a test (n=337) re-test (n=142) of the survey, and follow-up focus group discussions (n=25).

 

Results: The Scales have proven to be adequate on all equivalences other than measurement equivalence. The reproducibility statistics raise questions that can be explained by characteristics of the sample.

 

Conclusion and Implications: The analysis provides insights for further validation of the Scales, contributes to the discussion about a universal stigma measurement tool and demonstrates the importance of validation studies of existing and proven tools used in a different context.

The experiences of parents of children living with disabilities at Lehlaba Protective Workshop in Sekhukhune district of Limpopo province

TIGERE, Brian
MAKHUBELE, Jabulani C.
English
September 2019

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Background: Parents of children with disabilities have faced difficulties in looking after their children, be it socially, economically and financially. Parents in rural areas are mainly left with a huge burden, as there is a lack of services and support from both the state and non-governmental organisations. Parents in Sekhukhune district, a rural area in Limpopo province of South Africa, face challenges in raising their disabled children related to lack of resources and lack of services at their disposal.

 

Objectives: This study focuses on the experiences and life circumstances faced by parents of children living with different types of disabilities at Lehlaba Protective Workshop in Sekhukhune district of Limpopo province, South Africa.

 

Method: The study consisted of 14 participants who are parents of children living with disabilities. An interview guide with a set of questions was utilised to gather data. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data and themes that emerged were grouped together.

 

Results: Themes that emerged from the data showed that most of the participants had varying understandings on the causes of disabilities to their children. The participants also were of the view that a ‘cure’ for disability was available medically, spiritually or through traditional African medicine. The study also brought the notion of absent fathers, as most men do not want to be associated with children who are disabled. Stigmatisation of the parents was also a theme that the study revealed. The parents are subjected to name labelling as they are viewed to be practising witchcraft or to be paying for their sins they committed.

 

Conclusion: Parents of children with disabilities are in their own battle in raising their children. There is a lack of support structures available for parents of children living with disabilities. There is a lack of legislation available for protecting and promoting the rights of children with disabilities. The researchers concluded that raising a child with a disability is expensive, time-consuming and straining.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Experiences of primary caregivers of children with cerebral palsy across the trajectory of diagnoses in Ghana

KYEREMATENG, Joana D.A
EDUSEI, Anthony
DOGBE, Joslin A.
OPUKU, Maxwell P.
NKETSIA, William
HAMMOND, Chrales
AFRIYIE, Sally A.
English
September 2019

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Background: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a non-progressive disorder of posture or movement caused by a lesion to the developing brain that results in functional limitations. The diagnosis of CP can vary from one child to another, causing family stress because of vague and unknown outcomes of the disorder. Although there are negative attitudes in Ghanaian societies towards primary caregivers and children with disabilities, fewer attempts have been made to understand their experiences.

 

Objectives: The main aim of this study was to explore the experiences of primary caregivers across the trajectory of the diagnosis (before, during and after) of CP in the setting of a tertiary hospital.

 

Method: Using Social Capital Theory as framework, 40 primary caregivers of children with CP, who were receiving treatment at a major referral hospital in Ghana, were interviewed about their experiences before, during and after diagnosis.

 

Results: The results that emerged from the thematic analysis were discussed as follows: experiences before diagnosis, experiences during the diagnosis and experiences after the diagnosis. Particularly, participants discussed their inability to access essential services such as education for their children with CP.

 

Conclusion: In light of systemic challenges faced by participants and their children with CP, the need for health policymakers to prioritise the public education about CP, promoting the well-being of caregivers and other implications of the study have been discussed.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

United Nations Disability Inclusion strategy

UNITED NATIONS
English
June 2019

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The United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy provides the foundation for sustainable and transformative progress on disability inclusion through all pillars of the work of the United Nations: peace and security, human rights, and development.
 
The Strategy enables the UN system to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights instruments, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agenda for Humanity and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

The Strategy includes a policy and an accountability framework, with benchmarks to assess progress and accelerate change on disability inclusion. The policy establishes a vision and commitment for the United Nations system on the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

 

The strategy is based on three over-arching approaches to achieve disability inclusion: twin track approach; intersectionality; and coordination

There are four core areas of responsibility: leadership, strategic planning and management; inclusiveness; programming; and organisational culture

Family-based activity settings of children in a low-income African context

BALTON, Sadna
UYS, Kitty
ALANT, Erna
English
2019

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Background: There has been an overwhelming call to improve the understanding of how children develop within an African context as Euro-American definitions of competence have been uncritically adopted as the norm for children in Africa. The activities that children engage in within the family setting are seen as important to understand how children develop within context. The use of activity settings is closely aligned with a strengths-based perspective of family-centred practice and contributes to improved sustainability of intervention.

 

Objectives: This study that was conducted in Soweto, South Africa, aims to describe activity settings that typically developing young children in low-income African contexts participate in.

 

Method: A descriptive design using structured interviews was utilised to obtain information about activity settings that children aged 3–5 years and 11 months engaged in. Structured interviews with 90 caregivers were conducted.

 

Results: Findings show that children participate in a variety of activities with varied participation levels. The types of activities are dependent on the context and perceptions of caregivers.

 

Conclusion: These findings draw attention to understanding activities that children engage in within the family context.

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Views from the borderline: Extracts from my life as a coloured child of deaf adults, growing up in apartheid South Africa

HARRISON, Jane
WATERMEYER, Brian
English
2019

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Background: Over 90% of Deaf parents have hearing children, but there are very few, if any, studies that have explored the life worlds of hearing children of Deaf adults (CODAs) in South Africa. This article is an account of part of the life experiences of a female hearing child who was born and raised by her Deaf parents in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.

 

Objectives: This study used auto-ethnography to explore the socialisation of a female coloured CODA during the height of South Africa’s apartheid era, in order to shed light on intersectional influences on identity and selfhood. The study was intended to contribute to the limited knowledge available on the life circumstances of CODAs in Global South contexts.

 

Methods: Evocative auto-ethnography under a qualitative research paradigm was used to explore the life world of a now adult female hearing child of Deaf parents. Her thoughts, observations, reflections and involvements are articulated in a first person written narrative that is presented in this article. A thematic analysis approach was used to analyse data, and the themes that emerged are: (1) CODAs as language brokers, (2) being bilingual and trilingual, (3) being bicultural, (4) role reversal and parentification and (5) issues of identity. A discussion of these themes is interwoven with the literature, in an effort to provide a rich and robust analysis that contributes to the body of knowledge.

 

Results: Multiple identity markers that include disability, gender, race, age, nationality, culture and language intersect to frame the life world of a hearing child of Deaf parents who grew up in the apartheid era in South Africa. The result is both positive and negative life experiences, arising from being located simultaneously in both a hearing and Deaf world.

 

Conclusion: This study suggests that, in part, the life world of a hearing child of Deaf parents is multi-layered, multidimensional and complex; hence, it cannot be presented with a single description. Recommendations that inform policy and practice are outlined in the concluding section of the article.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

‘We only got Coca-Cola’: Disability and the paradox of (dis)empowerment in Southeast Nigeria

NWOKORIE, Okechukwu V.
DEVLIEGER, Patrick J.
English
2019

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Background: Empowerment is the generic name for support services for persons with disability in Nigeria. In it, the elites of the society play leading roles. Special events such as anniversaries, Christmas seasons, wealthy people’s birthdays, investiture of new titles and campaigns before general elections often provide occasions for empowerment programmes.

 

Objectives: This article explores discourses of empowerment of persons with disability in Southeast Nigeria. We concentrate on the relation between local elites and the disability community and how it impacts our understanding of empowerment. Conceptualising empowerment as worldmaking, and disability as something that is ambiguous, we challenge the assumption that the aim of empowerment of disabled people is to improve their (disabled people’s) quality of life.

 

Method: This article relies on research data (collected between January 2014 and January 2017) comprising 72 interviews and participant observations from 27 persons with disability, and 13 social workers and senior government officials.

 

Results: We conclude that discourses of empowerment of disabled people frame disability as loss and tend to conceal the personal stories and survival operations of disabled people.

 

Conclusion: Empowerment discourses ironically provide the platform for local power elites to ‘ride’ to fame on the backs of disabled to extend their influence in society. In the current neoliberal environment of unequal access to opportunities, disabled people must ‘play along’ as a survival strategy. Our qualitative data provide opportunities to reflect on the tensions between the ‘local and the global’, thus indicating how disability issues intersect with other wider questions.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

Cultural competence in lifelong care and support for individuals with intellectual disabilities

VAN HERWAARDEN, Aniek
ROMMES, Els W M
PETERS-SCHEFFER, Nienke C
English
2019

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Objectives: Although an extensive amount of research has been devoted to models defining cultural competence of healthcare professionals in short-term care, there is unclarity about the cultural competencies that professionals providing lifelong care and support should have. The current study aimed to explore which cultural competencies are used by these healthcare professionals, and whether these competencies enabled them to make cultural adaptations to their regular care practices.

 

Design: To investigate cultural competencies and cultural adaptations, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with eight professionals who provide lifelong care and support to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Five cultural competencies were explored: awareness, knowledge, skills, motivation, and encounters.

 

Results: A thematic analysis of the interviews revealed that professionals providing lifelong care and support used all cultural competencies in their care practices. Moreover, our analysis suggested that these competencies could be categorized as either practical or analytical cultural competencies. Although these competencies were conditional in order to make cultural adaptations to care practices, the presence of cultural competencies did not automatically lead to these cultural adaptations. Conclusions: All five cultural competencies were used by professionals in lifelong care and support. Our analysis revealed that both practical and analytical cultural competencies were essential in providing culturally sensitive lifelong care and support. We additionally suggest that the cultural competence of professionals is necessary, but not sufficient, for making cultural adaptations to lifelong care and support for individuals with intellectual disabilities. In many cases, other factors also played a role in a professional’s final decision to adapt their care practices.

 

Conclusions: All five cultural competencies were used by professionals in lifelong care and support. Our analysis revealed that both practical and analytical cultural competencies were essential in providing culturally sensitive lifelong care and support. We additionally suggest that the cultural competence of professionals is necessary, but not sufficient, for making cultural adaptations to lifelong care and support for individuals with intellectual disabilities. In many cases, other factors also played a role in a professional’s final decision to adapt their care practices.

Decolonizing schools: Women organizing, disability advocacy, and land in Sāmoa

ANESI, Julianne
English
2019

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In the 1970s and 1980s, Sāmoan women organizers established Aoga Fiamalamalama and Loto Taumafai, two educational institutions, in the independent state of Sāmoa. This article examines these schools’ support of students labelled as ma’i (sick), specifically those with intellectual and physical disabilities. Through oral histories and archival research, I show the vital role performed by the women organizers in changing the educational system by drawing attention to the exclusion of disabled students. I focus on the collective labor of Sāmoan women and their influence in decolonizing schools. In this regard, the women organizers used Sāmoan concepts of fa’a Sāmoa (culture), fanua (land), and tautua (service) as ways to redefine the commitment of the education system. This is a story about daring to reimagine indigenous disabled bodies and their futures through knowledge systems, theory, and literature.

 

Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2019, Vol. 6 No. 1

Societal attitude and behaviours towards women with disabilities in rural Nepal: pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood

DEVKOTA, Hridaya R.
KETT, Maria
GROCE, Nora
English
January 2019

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This study reviews the attitudes and behaviours in rural Nepalese society towards women with disabilities, their pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. Society often perceives people with disabilities as different from the norm, and women with disabilities are frequently considered to be doubly discriminated against. Studies show that negative perceptions held in many societies undervalue women with disabilities and that there is discomfort with questions of their control over pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, thus limiting their sexual and reproductive rights. Public attitudes towards women with disabilities have a significant impact on their life experiences, opportunities and help-seeking behaviours. Numerous studies in the global literature concentrate on attitudes towards persons with disabilities, however there have been few studies in Nepal and fewer still specifically on women.

A qualitative approach, with six focus group discussions among Dalit and non-Dalit women without disabilities and female community health volunteers on their views and understandings about sexual and reproductive health among women with disabilities, and 17 face-to-face semi-structured interviews with women with physical and sensory disabilities who have had the experience of pregnancy and childbirth was conducted in Rupandehi district in 2015. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and translated into English before being analysed thematically.

 

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 19, 20 (2019)

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2171-4

Mental health among Sami people with intellectual disabilities

GJERTSEN, Hege
English
2019

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The first living condition-survey among people with intellectual disability in Sami areas in Norway was conducted in 2017. The purpose of this article is to present and discuss results from the living-condition study, with a focus on the results related to mental health and bullying as a risk factor for poor mental health among people with intellectual disability and a Sami background. We have conducted a questionnaire survey among people with intellectual disability in Sami areas, with and without a Sami background (N = 93). People with intellectual disability have poorer mental health compared to the population in general and those with Sami background have the poorest mental health. Bullying is one of several factors that increase the risk of poor mental health among people with intellectual disability and Sami background. Having a Sami background makes people with intellectual disability more disposed to poor mental health.

Ubuntu considered in light of exclusion of people with disabilities

NGUBANE-MOKIWA, Sindile A.
English
2018

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Background: This article emanates from a study funded by the KwaZulu-Natal chapter of South Africa’s National Research Foundation on the ‘Archaeology of Ubuntu’. It explores the notion of ubuntu and disability in a group of Zulu people from four communities within KwaZulu-Natal. The study is based on the notion that ubuntu is humaneness. Being human is linked to notions of care, respect and compassion.

 

Objectives: The article explores the treatment of people with disabilities from the elders’ perspectives in this community.

 

Method: This article is based on qualitative data resulting from structured interviews conducted in the KwaZulu-Natal Province between February and March 2015.

 

Results: The results reveal that society considered the birth of a disabled child as a curse from God and punishment from the ancestors. The results also indicate that people with disabilities were excluded from community activities; marrying a disabled person was unthinkable because they were stigmatised and dehumanised. The work of Hannah Arendt is used to interrogate people’s perceptions of others with disabilities in their communities.

 

Conclusion: The article posits that treatment of people with disabilities is not cast in stone but can be renegotiated and restructured through community engagement to represent genuine inclusion.

Situation of persons with disabilities in Lebanon.

COMBAZ, Emilie
English
July 2018

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This K4D helpdesk report identifies information since 2013 concerning:

  • data on the state of persons with disabilities in Lebanon
  • assessments of laws on the rights of persons with disabilities in Lebanon
  • analyses of the political, social, cultural, and economic context for persons with disabilities in Lebanon

Issues particular to persons with disabilities amongst Syrian refugees within these aspects are identified where possible.

The state of knowledge and gaps are discussed. 

Disability stigma in developing countries

ROHWERDER, Brigitte
English
May 2018

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This K4D helpdesk report, commissioned by UK DFID, answers the question "What are the core drivers behind stereotypes, prejudice (including pity/shame etc), and harmful practices against persons with disabilities in developing countries and what promising strategies/pathways for addressing these drivers have been identified?" using desk research.

 

Across the world stereotypes, prejudice, and stigma contribute to the discrimination and exclusion experienced by people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of their lives. This rapid review looks at available evidence on the drivers of disability stigma in developing countries, and promising strategies for addressing these. Most of the available evidence uncovered by this rapid review comes from Sub-Saharan Africa, and is from a mix of academic and grey literature. Evidence gaps remain. The available literature has focused more on studying the victims of stigmatisation than the stigmatisers. 

Inclusion of marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with neurocognitive disability in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

TOWNSEND, Clare
McINTYRE, Michelle
LAKHANI, Ali
WRIGHT, Courtney
WHITE, Paul
BISHARA, Jason
CULLEN, Jennifer
English
2018

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Given the ambiguity surrounding the extent and experience of neurocognitive disability (NCD) among marginalised Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia, evidence regarding the level and nature of NCD is crucial to ensure equitable access and inclusion into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This paper reports the results of the implementation of The Guddi Protocol (a culturally informed and appropriate screening protocol for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples) at two locations in Queensland. Results indicated high levels of NCD, and additional qualitative data revealed a number of factors associated with the complex disablement of study participants, namely: i) intergenerational trauma; ii) a social context of disadvantage, marginalisation and exclusion; and iii) the nonidentification of disability. The results are linked to implications for NDIS inclusion for this population, and recommendations are made. Unless the extent and nature of complex disability and the issues surrounding culturally safe policy, and service design and engagement are addressed with and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including those who experience complex disablement, marginalised people will continue to be effectively excluded from the NDIS.

 

Disability and the Global South, 2018, Vol.5, No. 2

Frida Kahlo and pendular disability identity: A textual examination of El Diario de Frida Kahlo

JONES, Elizabeth
English
2018

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Frida Kahlo is undoubtedly one of Mexico’s most famous female artists, and her rising popularity led to the 1995 publication of the diary she kept the last ten years of her life. Nonetheless, while the diary has received some critical scrutiny, the text has not been analyzed as an independent unit from the book’s visual components. As a result, Kahlo’s disability identity has also not been explored, but rather was assumed due to the extensive injuries Kahlo suffered as a young woman. These examinations have also tended to view Kahlo as having a fragmented sense of self and have allowed the diary’s artwork to guide this assumption. In dialogue with prior studies of Kahlo’s diary, this analysis will view the diary as an independent text and apply Karen K. Yoshida’s model of pendular reconstruction of self and identity to demonstrate how Kahlo describes her disability identity and better understand what others have called her ‘fragmentation.’ 

 

Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2018, Vol. 5 No. 1

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