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Taking a Disability-Inclusive Approach to Pandemic Responses

WICKENDEN, Mary
THOMPSON, Stephen
ROHWERDER, Brigitte
SHAW, Jackie
2021

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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.
 

Psychosocial Consequences of COVID-19 on Persons with Visual Impairments

NAYAR, Mahima
JUVVA, Srilatha
LAKSHMAN, Chitra
2021

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The ongoing pandemic situation has disrupted lives globally. These disruptions are embodied in gender, social location, ethnicity and in the body. Public health facilities, accessibility of urban infrastructure, support services for persons with disability, educational accessibility in cities prior to the pandemic have influenced the manner in which disabled people are able to adapt to the current situation. This paper presents the experiences of young people living with visual impairments who reside in an urban low-income community in India. It explores the unique challenges such as the further reduction in accessibility to health and educational facilities that they are facing and the manner in which their carefully structured everyday lives have changed. The narratives also describe the manner in which they are coping with the public health disaster in addition to preparing for the new ‘norms’ that people living with visual impairments are required to navigate as an outcome of the pandemic. The paper gives voice to their needs and requirements in this situation, and in turn, aims to inform policy responses through first person accounts. 

COVID-19 and State Responses in Pakistan’s Policy towards Persons with Disabilities

ORAKZAI, Saira Bano
2021

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The outbreak of COVID-19 has initiated debate in the world about the response mechanism towards different communities in society. Pandemics have a long history in human societies, changing not only human behavior but also world politics. The Russian flu of 1889, the Spanish flu of 1918, the polio pandemic of 1949, H2N2 virus, 1956, HIV/AIDS 1981, Swine flu 2001, SARS 2002 among others have caused millions of deaths in contemporary recorded history. This paper examines Pakistan’s response mechanisms for persons with disabilities through an analysis of relevant policy documents, UN guidelines and content analysis of key speeches by the Prime Minister Imran Khan, interviews and initiatives taken by the government. The paper concludes that in the absence of any definitive policy for persons with disabilities during COVID19, there has been a general ignorance and apathy towards the way persons with disabilities were given care or in dealing with them during the lockdown situation. As the COVID-19 second wave started in different parts of the world, it is time for the government to take substantive measures to ease problems faced by persons with disabilities. 

COVID-19 from the margins: Gendered-Disability experiences in Sri Lanka

KANDASAMY, Niro
PERERA, Binendri
SOLDATIC, Karen
2021

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Recent research in the global South has highlighted that persons with disabilities are a vulnerable category of persons during the COVID19 outbreak. This paper provides some preliminary insights into Sri Lankan government responses to the outbreak, which, as we will be highlighting, take an ableist approach that further neglect the interests of persons with disabilities while entrenching disability dependencies on informal structures of familial and household support and in turn, increasing their marginality and economic insecurity. The COVID-19 outbreak hit Sri Lanka during a period of political turmoil – national Parliament had been dissolved on 3 March 2020 with elections initially called for 25 April 2020, six months prior to the official end of the Government’s elected term. Drawing upon rapid interview narratives, we present the lived experiences of two women with disabilities and the unique challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we write this paper in September 2020, we acknowledge that the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 will not become immediately visible, particularly for disabled people from ethno-religious minority groups, including those residing within the former conflict zones.

COVID 19 in Nepal: The Impact on Indigenous Peoples and Persons with Disabilities

GURUNG, Pratima
2021

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The COVID 19 pandemic crisis is unfolding against the backdrop of several important milestones for equality and the human rights of various marginalized groups including women and girls, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities in all their diversities and intersections in Nepal. The COVID-19 pandemic has entrenched systemic gaps, underlying structural inequalities and pervasive discrimination, more visible with inadequate healthcare, access to information, employment and livelihoods, and social protection system mainly for marginalized groups. This study aims to understand the challenges and impacts of the COVID 19 on marginalized groups including persons with disabilities in Nepal. Based on qualitative research with primary and secondary information, the paper emphasizes the experiences and realities of marginalized groups during the lockdown and pandemic situations. Some of the existing challenges faced by marginalized groups include access to information and health measures related to COVID 19, access to livelihoods and employment, increasing rates of suicide, violence against women from marginalized groups, women with disabilities, and others. The study will integrate these components and deal with intersections with concrete recommendations. 

Patients’ and communication partners’ experiences of communicative changes in Parkinson’s disease

JOHANSSON, Inga-Lena
SAMUELSSON, Christina
MULLER, Nicole
February 2021

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Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate the experiences of people with Parkinson’s disease and their close communication partners regarding disease-related communicative changes and participation in everyday conversations.

 

Materials and methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with six dyads consisting of a person with Parkinson’s disease and a close communication partner. The interview material was analysed through thematic analysis.

 

Results: The main theme was the experiences of barriers and facilitators for participation in conversations. Subthemes were experiences related to changes in voice and articulation, language and cognition, body language and facial expressions, fatigue, self-image, communicative initiative, and familiarity with conversation partner. The results show individual variation. A change observed in almost all dyads was the person with Parkinson’s disease participating less in conversations.

 

Conclusions: Assessment and interventions should be based on a broad perspective on communication, and individuals’ priorities should be foregrounded in intervention planning. Both the person with Parkinson’s disease and communication partners need to make adjustments for communication to work. Therefore, close communication partners should be included in assessment and intervention of communication in Parkinson’s disease from an early stage.

Participation and engagement in family activities among girls and young women with Rett syndrome living at home with their parents – a cross-sectional study

KRUSE GYLDHOF, Ditte
STAHLHUT, Michelle
EJLERSEN WAEHRENS, Eva
February 2021

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Purpose: To describe the extent of participation and engagement in family activities and explore variables potentially impacting on these factors in family activities among girls and young women with Rett syndrome (RTT) under the age of 21.

 

Materials and methods: The Child Participation in Family Activities (Child-PFA) questionnaire was sent to parents in the target group (n = 42). Additionally, age, number of siblings at home, ambulation level, clinical severity and level of hand function were recorded to explore possible impact. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Fishers exact test and cross-tables.

 

Results: 23 families participated. Highest degrees of participation and engagement were seen in social and stationary family activities. Indoor activities were frequent and showed high levels of participation and engagement, Outdoor activities were infrequent and showed low levels of participation despite a high degree of engagement. Routine activities were frequent but showed moderate to low participation and engagement. A negative association was found between participation in watching a movie and number of siblings living at home, and positive associations between engagement and age in three family activities.

 

Conclusion: Therapists working with this target group may benefit from focusing on engagement in routine activities and modification of family activities.

Comprehensive support for pupils at risk of school failure in inclusive education: theory and school practice in the Czech Republic

SLOWÍK, Josef
GAŽÁKOVÁ, Eva
HOLEČEK, Václav
ZACHOVÁ, Markéta
2021

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The paper presents possibilities of comprehensive use of support tools for pupils at risk of school failure in the Czech primary schools practice in order to support the implementation of inclusive education. The research data obtained during the project implemented in the Pilsen region in period of 2016–2019 brought the results of assessment of new support tools that are not yet systemically introduced in the Czech educational system and commonly available for all schools, although these instruments seem to be very effective or even necessary for quality inclusive education. The most important new tools include the position of inclusion coordinator in schools, strengthening the counselling services available directly in schools, as well as new strategies for promotion of cooperation between the schools, families, and social services – including some specific techniques, such as parenting workshops on child support in education, case conferences with child’s participation or seminars for parents and teachers on collaboration with social services. However, the exploitation of the results of this research and assessment will depend largely on political decisions at both local and governmental levels.

Social classroom climate and personalised instruction as predictors of students’ social participation

ZURBRIGGEN, Carmen L A
HOFMANN, Verena
LEHOFER, Mike
SCHWAB, Susanne
2021

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Previous research has repeatedly confirmed that students with special educational needs (SEN) are generally less accepted by their peers. Although inclusive teaching strategies and classroom characteristics are frequently hypothesised to improve students’ social participation, empirical evidence is scarce. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to investigate classroom characteristics and teaching practices that can help foster social participation, in general, and reduce the effect of lower social participation among students with SEN, in particular. The sample includes 518 students in 31 Grade 4 and 7 classes from Austria, of whom 99 are students with SEN. The results show that students with SEN receive fewer peer nominations and perceive their social participation to be lower compared to their peers without SEN. However, the association between SEN and self-perceived social participation is moderated by the social classroom climate, i.e. the difference becomes smaller when the social classroom climate is more positive. Furthermore, the higher the personalised instruction was rated by a student, the higher was his or her social status. The results suggest that interventions should focus not only on the improvement of individual students (with SEN) but also on changing the whole classroom environment.

Disabled children and work: An overview of a neglected topic with a specific focus on Ghana

WICKENDEN, Mary
February 2021

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This paper provides an overview of issues related to disabled children and work.

This is a very unexplored topic and the literature is scant, so the paper first provides an overview of some key relevant background information on: disability globally and in Ghana, disability and employment, disabled children and relevant human rights approaches – the UNCRC and UNCRPD. Next examples of research on disabled children and work are presented and lastly some suggested hypotheses and possible research questions are proposed

 

ACHA Working Paper 7
DOI: 10.19088/ACHA.2021.002

Social media and disability advocacy organizations: caught between hopes and realities

GELFGREN, Stefan
INELAND, Jens
COCQ, Coppélie
2021

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This article examines the role of advocacy organizations and their use of social media within the field of disability in Sweden. How do the organizations negotiate digital media, and what are the (intentional or unintentional) consequences related to the use of social media? With focus on the representatives of advocacy organizations, we study how they reflect and act in order to balance various motives, and what challenges and ambiguities that arise. On one hand, there is a perceived need to be online and communicate with members and the surrounding society. On the other hand, digital communication induces a divide between those who have the resources to take part in such communication, and those who do not – in terms of digital competence, economy, age, cognitive abilities, technical equipment and digital connection. The heterogeneity of resources and target groups inevitably challenges both the ideals of inclusion and intentions of advocacy organizations.

Education, girl, disability: an equation to solve. Ensuring the right to education for girls with disabilities in the Sahel

HUMANITY & INCLUSION (HI)
January 2021

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Most girls with disabilities do not have the opportunity to access education and to thrive in school. They are exposed to multiple  discrimination owing to their identity as girls and as children with disabilities. Comprehensive measures are needed to ensure their right to inclusive and quality education.

The factsheet builds on the findings of a research conducted by Humanity & Inclusion in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and conveys messages and recommendations aiming to inspire action and thus improve educational opportunities for girls with disabilities.

Key recommendations so that girls with disabilities are not left behind are made to governments, donors and civil society organisations

Insisting on inclusion: Institutionalisation and barriers to education for children with disabilities in Kyrgyzstan

MILLS, Laura
December 2020

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Since 2012, the Kyrgyz government has pledged to close 17 residential institutions for children, including three for children with disabilities. But 3,000 children with disabilities remain in institutions.

This report is based on in-person visits to six institutions for children with disabilities and 111 interviews with children with disabilities, their parents, institution staff, and experts in four regions of Kyrgyzstan. It describes abuses in state care as well as barriers to education that often lead to a child’s segregation in a residential institution or special school, or their isolation at home.

 

 

Disability inclusion annual report 2020

UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY (UNRWA)
December 2020

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The number of Palestine refugees registered by UNRWA recently grew to 5.7 million (from 5.5 million in 2019) in all its five field of operations in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank. Among them are Palestine refugees with disabilities, who have long-term impairments, which in interactions with attitudinal, institutional, and environmental barriers prevent their full and effective participation on an equal basis with others in society. Persons with disabilities constitute an estimated 15 per cent of the global population1, and may constitute a higher percentage in humanitarian contexts, such as Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, in particular, which are UNRWA fields of operations.

 

The main actions undertaken in 2020 discussed in the report are:

  • targeted and disability-specific services for persons with disabilities
  • disability inclusion through programmes
  • inter-agency coordination
  • international protection advocacy

Breaking down barriers to travel. Championing disability inclusive and accessible travel

AYLING-SMITH, Verity
December 2020

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Inclusivity is a key element to exceptional travel experiences – enabling individuals all over the world to experience diverse countries, cultures and opportunities. Yet often, disability inclusion is not at the forefront of travel products and services.

This report will support travel providers to understand why disability inclusion matters to the industry whilst celebrating and learning from providers already striving to be more inclusive through their innovative practices

 

To gather stories and examples of best practice from within the travel industry, we developed a “Call for Case Studies” survey which was distributed to both Leonard Cheshire and Expedia Group’s networks. From these submissions, we selected examples which highlighted innovative practice and represented our key themes of the report

People with Physical Disabilities playing Light Volleyball: A Qualitative Study in Hong Kong

Leung, Ka Man
Chu, William
Wong, Ming-Yu
2020

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Purpose: This study aimed at understanding the perceptions of people with physical disabilities regarding playing Light Volleyball (LVB), identifying the possible constraints and risks they might face while playing, and providing their suggestions for fine-tuning the Light Volleyball intervention programmes.

 

Method: Four focus group interviews were conducted with 17 participants who joined the Light Volleyball trial programme. The participants were 11 males and 6 females, with an average age of 53.5 years (SD=11.83 years). People with poliomyelitis (n = 15), spinal cord injury (n = 1), hearing impairment (n = 1) were included.

 

Results: Participants indicated improved reactivity and coordination, cooperation in team, happiness, and novelty in general as positive outcomes while playing Light Volleyball. They preferred to play in the seated position (i.e., sitting light volleyball - SLVB), and with simpler rules. They believed that their ability to play Light Volleyball was subject to their body constraints.

 

Conclusion: Sitting Light Volleyball can be one of the new physical activity options for future sport promotion among people with physical disabilities in the community. The effectiveness of playing Sitting Light Volleyball in enhancing health among people with physical disabilities needs to be studied in future.

Disclosure of Disease among Women affected by Leprosy: A Qualitative Study

Ramasamy, Senthilkumar
Govindharaj, Pitchaimani
Kumar, Archana
Panneerselvam, Suganya
2020

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Purpose: Although leprosy is completely curable with multidrug therapy, it is unfortunate that the stigma attached to leprosy persists even today. Fear of social exclusion prevents disclosure of the disease to the family and community. This study aimed to evaluate the extent of disclosure of disease among women affected by leprosy in a tertiary referral hospital in Chhattisgarh State, India.

 

Method: A qualitative study was conducted with 57 women affected by leprosy who reported at a tertiary referral hospital in Champa, Chhattisgarh State. The respondents were 18 years of age or older, and had completed multidrug therapy for leprosy. They were asked whether the disclosure of disease had affected their interactions with family, neighbours and community members.

 

Results: Of the 57 women, 48 (84%) had disclosed their disease to their family, 17 (30%) to their neighbours and 13 (23%) to the community members. Thirty women (53%) reported that they experienced problems after revealing the ailment to their family, friends and neighbours. The qualitative analysis found that negative behaviour towards people affected by leprosy still persists in the community. Consequently, women affected by leprosy try to hide their disease due to fear of negative community reactions.

 

Conclusion: This study emphasises the need to spread awareness about the disease and its transmission, by educating the people affected by leprosy, their families and the community. This should be a continuous process in order to reduce or remove the stigma and discrimination against women affected by leprosy, in particular.

Activity Limitation of People Affected by Leprosy in an Endemic District in West Bengal, India

Govindharaj, Pitchaimani
Srinivasan, Sampathkumar
Darlong, Joydeepa
2020

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Purpose: This study aimed to assess the level of activity limitation, and the factors associated with it, among people affected by leprosy who were reporting at a leprosy referral centre of Purulia, in West Bengal state, India.

 

Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 358 individuals affected by leprosy. Persons recruited for this study were above 18 years of age, married, and had been diagnosed with leprosy for at least 1 year at the time of the interview. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to gather information about the respondents’ socio-economic and disease status. The Screening of Activity Limitation and Safety Awareness (SALSA) Scale was used to measure activity limitation.

 

Results: Of the 358 respondents, 59% were male, 60% were between 18 and 45 years of age, and 42% were illiterate. About 144 or 40% of the respondents had Grade 2 disability and 60% had disease duration of more than 3 years. There were 229 individuals (64%) who had no limitation in activities, 103 (29%) had mild limitation and 26 (7%) had moderate to severe limitation in activities. There is a significant association between gender, age, occupation, physical disability and disease duration with activity limitation.

 

Conclusion: It appears that limitations in activities among persons affected by leprosy are associated with being a woman, ahousewife, an aged person, and with longer disease duration. The physical disability was intrinsically associated with limitation in activities.

Effectiveness of Community-Based Rehabilitation on the lives of Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Mixed Method Study in Karnataka, India

Bokalial, Doly
Hossain, Forhad Md
Kumar, Senthil N S
Bajracharya, Shristi
2020

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Purpose: The study aimed to identify the effects of the CBR programme on parents of children with Cerebral Palsy, living in Karnataka State, India. It also tried to find the challenges and improvements needed to make the CBR programme more effective.

 

Method: A cross-sectional, descriptive study design was used to collect a sample of 100 parents of children with Cerebral Palsy, with GMFCS levels IV and V. The sample was drawn from various communities in Bangalore, Davanagere and Bijapur, where the services of The Association of People with Disability are available. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with the study subjects. Data was analysed by SPSS using descriptive and inferential statistics.

 

Results: It was observed that the CBR programme had a positive effect on parents’ health, knowledge, social lives and empowerment. A binary logistic regression was done to find the relationship between health, knowledge, social lives and assistive devices use. A strong association was found between all the areas (p=.001) except GMFCS and assistive devices use (p=.004) at 95% CI. The odds ratios between them were greater than 1 and showed the strong positive effect of the CBR programme on parents.

 

Conclusion: The CBR programme not only has a positive effect on children with Cerebral Palsy, but also plays an important role in parents’ lives. It contributes in a positive way to parents’ overall activity.

Disability, Sociodemographics, and Discrimination: A Descriptive Analysis of Household Survey Data from Bangladesh

Ekman, Björn
Borg, Johan
Khan, AHM Noman
Bari, Nazmul
Tanbir, Moin
Emmelin, Maria
2020

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Purpose: Disability affects upwards of one billion people worldwide, the majority of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. Based on survey data from Bangladesh, the aim of the study is to contribute to an improved understanding of the experiences of people with disabilities in terms of discrimination, health, and sociodemographic indicators.

 

Method: A descriptive analysis of data is presented, from a survey implemented in 2016 on a sample of adult persons with disabilities from 18 districts in Bangladesh (n=1,900). The summary statistics of main indicators and correlation analysis of key variables are given.

 

Results: Women comprised around 40% of the sample. The mean age was 36 years (minimum 18 years and maximum 55 years). Women had lower socioeconomic status than men (p<0, 01), were less likely to be well-educated or employed, had worse self-assessed health (p<0, 05), and were less likely to be able to read and write. Men were more likely to have a physical disability than women (p<0, 01). Both women and men reported unmet needs in terms of access to assistive products and not receiving a benefit. Around 40 % of the sample reported having experienced discrimination, with no significant differences between women and men.

 

Conclusion and Implications: Many women and men with disability experience some forms of discrimination, including in matters pertaining to healthcare, education, and employment. Such experiences may have a negative impact on their life chances. However, women and men with a disability differ in several important respects, both in terms of socioeconomic status and types of disability. Such differences need to be considered for effective and equitable policy development.

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