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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. 

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.

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

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.

2020 Harkin International Disability Employment Summit. Realising the value of inclusion

THE HARKIN INSTITUTE
December 2020

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The 2020 Harkin Summit will explore the value of disability inclusion, particularly for businesses and employers. The challenges and opportunities before us today are clear. We must immediately build back the jobs that were lost or put at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look to the future, we must permanently fix the system so that disability inclusion moves from an aspirational goal to one that is an accepted and valued component of the business strategy.

This year, The Harkin Institute is proud to partner in offering this Summit with Caroline Casey and her organization, The Valuable 500, a business-to-business initiative catalyzing the influence of large private sector corporations in national and international markets.

Mixed-Methods Programme Evaluation of Disability Equality Training (DET) in Mongolia

Higashida, Masateru
Gereltuya, Ganbayar
Altanzul, Gantaikhuu
2020

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Purpose: An evaluation of a disability equality training (DET) programme, based on the social model of disability, was conducted to explore the changes in the participants’ attitudes and behaviours in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

 

Methods: This study is composed of two parts. First, the participants’ attitude changes during DET sessions were examined through a descriptive quantitative and qualitative analysis of questionnaires and related documents. Second, thebehavioural changes at the organisational and individual levels, the impact on society, and related factors were explored by quantitative and qualitative analysis of good practice cases: 39 participants were selected through purposive sampling and semi-structured interviews were conducted.

 

Results: It was found that most participants adopted the social model perspective within these sessions. A qualitative content analysis of the good practice cases also found that the majority of participants attempted to change their social environments after the sessions. Thematic analysis identified promotional factors, such as within-organisation dynamics and compatibility and barriers at the individual and organisational levels, which were associated with participants’ behaviours after DET sessions.

 

Conclusion: The implications of these findings are discussed in connection with the strategic implementation of DET to promote disability-inclusive development. Future studies should examine the effectiveness of a strategy by considering the factors identified in this study and by using a reliable sample in various settings where DET sessions are conducted.

International Summit on Legal Professionals with Disabilities

INDIAN LAW SOCIETY
OXFORD HUMAN RIGHTS HUB
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PROJECT ON DISABILITY
CENTRE FOR DISABILITY STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS
December 2020

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3-day Summit with three panel discussions by disabled legal professionals to foster a well-considered dialogue on how we can break down the structural and attitudinal barriers that prevent disabled legal professionals from leading lives of equal productivity and dignity as their able-bodied counterparts.

The themes for the days were: Day 1 - Academicians; Day 2 - Lawyers; Day 3 - Judges 

Children with disabilities have a right to quality education

ORSANDER, Martina
December 2020

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Save the Children aims to contribute to more children with disabilities receiving a quality education by both mainstreaming disability into their programmes and offering targeted interventions to them and their families where needed.

Examples are given from their current programmes in Uganda, Rwanda and Kosovo.

The impact of COVID-19 is examined.

Do both ‘get it right’? Inclusion of newly arrived migrant students in Swedish primary schools

TAJIC, Denis
BUNAR, Nihad
2020

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The aim of this article is to advance knowledge on how Swedish primary schools organise education and what strategies they deploy to ensure inclusion and attainment of newly arrived migrant students. The article is based on semi-structured interviews with 30 teachers and school administrators, and one-year of fieldwork undertaken in two multicultural urban primary schools in the Stockholm region. One of the schools initially places students in separate classes, while the other one places them directly into mainstream classes. Both are evoking inclusion and attainment as a reason for using their respective models. As such, do both ‘get it right’? Using inclusion as the theoretical and conceptual framework this article addresses the broader question: How is the meaning of inclusion constructed in the processes of its practical implementation in these two schools? The results show the ambitious tale of inclusion in both schools was, in the process of the construction of its meaning and implementation, reduced to some of its aspects. Teachers and school administrators are allowed to include or leave out of their model whatever they deem necessary, obsolete, expensive or unrealistic and still fitting under the umbrella of inclusion. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not, and both schools ‘get it right’ and ‘wrong’ in some aspects.

Teaching for inclusion – a review of research on the cooperation between regular teachers and special educators in the work with students in need of special support

PAULSRUD, David
NILHOLM, Claes
2020

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This article presents a review of qualitative research on interprofessional cooperation between regular teachers and special educators published from 2005 to 2019. The aim of the review was to gain knowledge about how different forms of cooperation take shape and about factors at multiple levels that facilitate or constrain cooperation as a means of achieving inclusion. In total, 25 studies were selected. The results are discussed in relation to Thomas Skrtic’s theory of bureaucracies within the school organisation in order to compare and analyse different forms of interprofessional cooperation and schools’ organisations of special educational work. Cooperative teaching, special educational consultations and mixed forms of cooperation were found to entail different benefits and challenges related to communication and the cooperating actors’ roles. Facilitating factors included personal chemistry, an equal distribution of power and responsibilities and support from the school management through provision of professional development and adequate planning time. In several studies, a flexible cooperation was argued to be hindered by curricular constraints and standardised testing. Education policy is therefore emphasised in this review as important for understanding the conditions under which school staff are responsible for inclusion.

Leaving no one behind in education - A focus on children with disabilities

ADEREMI-IGE, Toyin
KAPUSCINKI DEVELOPMENT LECTURES
November 2020

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This lecture by Dr. Toyin Aderemi-Ige shed light on the educational situation of children with disabilities in low and middle income countries, highlighting how the interaction of multiple discriminatory factors (like gender and disability) results in increased exclusion. The 2030 Agenda sets the commitment to “leave no one behind” and its Sustainable Development Goal 4 calls to ensure inclusive and quality education for all. However, 10 years away from the 2030 deadline, children with disabilities are still significantly excluded from education and, consequently, from life’s opportunities.

 

The event was moderated by Dr. Harlan Koff of the Luxembourg University.

The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Catherine Léglu, Vice-rector for Academic Affairs, University of Luxembourg
  • Julia McGeown, Global Education Specialist, Handicap International
  • Graham Lang, Chief of Education at Education Cannot Wait

Ensuring the right to quality inclusive education for persons with disabilities: From commitment to action

UNESCO
November 2020

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The international symposium "Ensuring the right to quality inclusive education for persons with disabilities: From commitment to action", co-organized by UNESCO, the Leonard Cheshire, and the Ministry of Education of Portugal brought together a wide range of stakeholders across the globe to discuss progress, successes achieved and challenges to ensure full participation and access to quality learning opportunities for all learners.

The symposium aims were to:

  • review persisting, as well as new challenges, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that are hindering the fulfilment of the right to inclusive education for learners with disabilities.
  • facilitate the exchange of experiences on factors influencing successful inclusive policies and practices for learners with disabilities and strengthen dialogue and cooperation amongst stakeholders at policy and practice levels.
  • explore how the inclusion of learners with disabilities in inclusive settings can be more effectively addressed by governments with regards to the commitments of Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the CRPD General Comment 4 on article 24, and Sustainable Development 4 SDG 4, to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The programme included:

Opening session - Accelerating efforts towards inclusive education for learners with disabilities. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

Session 1 - From legislation to inclusive practices: Re-designing policy frameworks, funding and monitoring arrangements across sectors for inclusive education for learners with disabilities. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

Session 2 - Revisiting the teaching and learning process to ensure access and participation of learners with disabilities.

Session 3 - Moving towards inclusive and safe learning environments, including by addressing violence and bullying against learners with disabilities.
 

Closing session - Rebuilding a Stronger Global Disability Inclusive Education System post COVID-19. (Video recording: English - French - Spanish)

Increasingly consulted, but not yet participating: IDA global survey report on participation of Organisations of Persons with Disabilities

INTERNATIONAL DISABILITY ALLIANCE (IDA)
November 2020

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This new report presents the findings of the first-ever global survey led by OPDs on their participation in decision making processes of governments, the UN system and funding agencies.

The IDA Global Survey is part of a strategy to hold decision-makers accountable for their commitments under Articles 4.3 and 32 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Based on testimonies collected from OPDs in 165 counties, the report assesses the quality, depth, scope and relevance of the OPDs participation in programmes and policies, and offers recommendations for governments, the UN system and funding agencies.

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