We join the world in celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Many children still face tough times at school and at home due to lack of awareness surrounding disability, absence of proper facilities, and negative attitudes towards disability. It is more disturbing to learn that a high percentage of children living with disabilities have to deal with bullying at school. It takes all of us to change this situation and create safe and enabling environments for the children to realize their full potential in life. To improve the situation, we have to make sure that our schools are equipped with the right mobility equipment, parents, teachers and non-disabled children are educated about disabilities.
Children living with disabilities are most prone to various forms of violence including neglect by their parents or caregivers. Often, such cases of neglect happen due to lack of information about how best to respond to the children’s needs. At ICS SP, we are committed to improving the quality of life for disabled children by training parents and teachers on Skilful Parenting that enhances their understanding on how best to respond to all children's needs as they go through each developmental stage. We also intervene to change negative attitudes towards disability among non-disabled children. Many children living with disabilities have needs that are not met hence the need for social services, schools and health professionals to intervene to ensure that the children are protected. There is need to understand that disabled children are more dependent on their parents and care givers who look after them and that in some cases, the children are poorly cared for simply because parents or care givers do not understand the children's needs.
Additionally, children living with disabilities have the right to be included in different developmental activities that facilitate their integration with other non-disabled children. They should be given equal access to services like health care, education and so on, even if they may need additional support in the beginning and the structures to which support is given may require some special adaptations. We have a responsibility to work tirelessly until we ensure that no child remains in an unsafe environment.
The Dutch Caroline Abels, portfolio manager of the Skilful Parenting program, recently traveled to Ivory Coast. Together with colleague Maureen from Kenya she resided in the West-African country for ten days to educate new Skilful Parenting trainers. Dive into her experiences! >>