Guide to International News, April 2021

Hey Debriefers,

Welcome to the April round-up of disability news from around the world.

This edition picks up where the March edition left off. You can also catch-up on the interviews I did on inclusive health and on working on education in Nigeria.

If you're new… Welcome! I'm Peter Torres Fremlin and I make Disability Debrief so we can follow and understand international work on disability. See previous issues or search the archive, and subscribe to get new ones. I love when people get in touch - reply on email, or find me on twitter @desibility.

This edition is produced with support from Center for Inclusive Policy.


I'm nervous to share this edition as it includes a very personal poem about my own disability experience. A bit more on that below, but as usual our main course is a feast of disability news.

Yes, there’s plenty of COVID. COVID has infected most sections of the newsletter, and there's one that focuses on impact (still bad), response (not enough but we're trying), and vaccines (maybe?). The disability community is calling for action on inclusion in vaccine rollout, and as every other part of the COVID response, it seems to be down to our advocacy. Other COVID news that struck me:

My favourite thing: Inventions of Sound. Raymond Antrobus is a stunning poet and this episode reflects on “What is Sound?”… “a kind of mythology. [It's] an inherited form, maybe.” See a fuller quotation below, in the Culture and Enterainment section.

Also out this month:

  • A WHO Gobal report on Ageism, another confirmation we have more work to do on linking disability and older age.
  • Two big reports on assistive technology, from WHO and from WIPO.
  • Plenty of news, organized into around 25 topics below. New this month are updates from Autism Awareness Week and Women's Day.

Choose your own adventure. If you want…

My Disability Experience: Dancing on the Stairs

Dancing on the Stairs is a spoken word poem of my pandemic experience: coming home to the UK after 12 years abroad, finding physical things tougher, and the words that might fit it all together. It's quite intense, and as you might expect from reading my newsletters, not short. Available in audio, video and text.

For fans of disability news, the poem does include one statistic. And I feel I've been able to do something that I've wanted to for many years: talk about how the social model of disability does - and does not - relate to my own experience of disability, and the ideas I got from anthropology research I did at the start of my career.

Writing this has changed me, and I think will change the way I work.


The topics covered below are:

  • Accessibility and Design
  • Ageing and Ageism
  • Assistive Technology
  • Autism Awareness
  • Black Lives Matter, and racial justice
  • Civil Society
  • COVID-19
  • Culture, Entertainment and Media
  • Data and Research
  • Deinstitutionalisation
  • Digital Accessibility and Technology
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Education and childhood
  • Employment, business and work
  • Health
  • History and Memorial
  • Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
  • International Cooperation
  • Lived Experience and Opinion
  • Mental Health
  • Policy and rights
  • Politics and Elections
  • Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
  • Resources
  • Sign Languages
  • Social Protection
  • Sport
  • Transport
  • Violence and Harassment
  • Women with disabilities and Women's Day

And in closing there are some events and vacancies.


We need to be careful about things we see online, even if they do come in brilliant newsletters. Keep in mind these are links I've seen on social media and you also need to use your own judgement. I mark the source and date and try to organize by importance to give you a good start.

News by area

Accessibility and Design

Only partially related, but kinda cute video on twitter: Accessible architecture for aging spiders. Turns out people don't complain about how expensive accessibility is if you do it for your pet. (no image description, March)

How can cities improve the quality of life of disabled people? (February, Tomorrow. City)

Designing spaces with marginalized people in mind makes them better for everyone "How the ‘curb-cut effect’ makes the world easier to navigate. " (March, Popular Science)

Discussion on Accessible Worlds with Jillian Mercado and Aimi Hamraie (March, Walker Art)

‘It’s a basic human right’: the fight for adaptive fashion (February, 2021) “Thinking about fashion in this way requires designers to become engineers, utilising problem-solving, innovation and empathy.”

What to know about Starbucks' new technology service that helps blind and low-vision customers (March, ABC News)

In Canada, Government Increases Funding for Alternate Format Materials for Persons with Print Disabilities (March, GAN)

In Israel Bill to Fine Israeli Cities for Not Making Buildings Accessible (March, Haaretz)

Ageing and Ageism

The WHO Global Report on Ageism "outlines a framework for action to reduce ageism" (March, WHO)

“This report shows that ageism is prevalent, ubiquitous and insidious because it goes largely unrecognised and unchallenged. Ageism has serious and far-reaching consequences for people’s health, well-being and human rights and costs society billions of dollars. Among older people, ageism is associated with poorer physical and mental health, increased social isolation and loneliness, greater financial insecurity and decreased quality of life and premature death. Ageism, in younger people has been less well explored in the literature but reported by younger people in a range of areas including employment, health and housing. Across the life course, ageism interacts with ableism, sexism and racism compounding disadvantage.”

As you can see, the report does mention disability and ableism, although I would have loved to see a more substantial engagement. Definitely a reminder that we need more evidence and emphasis on an area that is such a profound intersection for persons with disabilities and older people. And a reminder that while our approaches, and successes in advocacy, could offer so much to people doing related work, they are not getting across as much as they could.

See responses:

At the UN Open-Ending Working Group on Ageing:

A new book Aging-Disability Nexus, an edited collection (February, UBC Press). Introduction and beginning are available online.

In the United Kingdom, virtual event on overlap between ageism and ableism in the workplace: Insights for occupational health and training (January, ILC UK)

Assistive Technology

The WHO has released Assistive Product Specifications, a guidebook with specifications for 26 assistive products and their minimum requirements for manufacturing (March) From wheelchairs to ramps to alarm systems, Braille typewriters, microphones and more. See also an intro on youtube.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has released a technology trends report on Assistive Technology to look at "patenting and technology trends in innovation in assistive technology" (March).

“[I]f we let the “market” do its work, we could end up with outstanding solutions for the few only, and move further away from [the ideal of an inclusive world where access to assistive technology is a human right]

See also WIPO Press Release and inventions boom in 'assistive tech' (UN)

GDI Hub partners with WHO to improve access to assistive technology for disabled people worldwide (March, UCL)

Autism Awareness

From the United Nations, World Autism Awareness Day (April)

Embracing autism & disability representation (April, Television Business International)

The Lego Foundation Partners with Social Enterprise to strengthen Lego play based learning programme for neurodivergent children (March, Lego)

In Brazil,

In the United Kingdom, The Guardian view on autism awareness: recognising diverse talents – and needs (April, Guardian)

In the United States,

Black Lives Matter, and racial justice

In Europe, Day Against Racial Discrimination: Impact of COVID-19 on racialised people with disabilities (March, EDF)

In the United States,

Civil Society

In the United States,

  • The wonderful Disability Visibility Project had its 100th podcast episode: a final episode reflective, and highlighting its collection as a resource.
  • Social Justice: What’s disability got to do with it? #DisabilityDemandsJustice (short video, February, Ford Foundation)



Feature on How the COVID pandemic exacerbated vulnerabilities for people with disabilities (video, March, DW News)

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A literature review (February, Disability Under Siege) Highlights lack of inclusion in national and international responses, pervasive view of disability only as a medical issue, and worrying lack of data.

Interview on Food security for people with disabilities "Food is absolutely the top challenge for most people with disabilities living in poorer countries during this pandemic" (LFTW)

In Asia and the Pacific, two-page evidence summary on Experiences of People with Disabilities During COVID-19 (March, CBM)

In East Asia, articles on the impact of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities (March, Ars Vivendi Journal no. 13)

In Nigeria, Nigeria's Disabled Hard Hit by COVID Challenges (March, VOA)

In Peru, the ordeal of disabled people in the pandemic in (Spanish, Suadaca)

In South Africa, Pandemic Takes Unique Toll on South Africa's Disabled describing "unique toll on a community of blind burn victims." (March, VOA)

In Uganda, How can we support young PWDs in improving their livelihoods and change their health-seeking behaviors? discussion meeting (March, Make 12.4% Work)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States,

  • 'I Really Loved My Job’ People with disabilities are disproportionately employed in industries that have suffered in the pandemic. (March, New York Times)

In Zambia, interview with the president of the Albinism Foundation on the impact of the pandemic and the vaccine rollout (Sightsavers)

Policies and Response

A brief from IDS on Taking a Disability-Inclusive Approach to Pandemic Responses (March) Based on findings from Nepal and Bangladesh, it emphasizes both emotional and material impacts coming from the pandemic.

The IASC, humanitarian coordination forum of the UN, has made a toolkit Living with the Times, A Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Toolkit for Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic (March, IASC) See more, including examples of their posters, (LTC Covid).

Ramping up representation: promoting participation of youth with disabilities in pandemic recovery efforts (March, IDA)

In Europe, ‘We Shall Not Be Erased’ "It’s Time to Change Who Tells the Stories" - an effort to discuss and explore the impact of COVID-19 on our lives (March, Disability Arts Online)

In India, reflections on a disability NGO response to COVID-19 (link to pdf, CBM) “Beyond agility, there is also a need for humanity. What helps build an organization with heart?”

In the Solomon Islands, Gender, Disability and Inclusion Analysis for COVID-19 and Tropical Cyclone Harold, evaluation by Care. (March, Relief Web)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States,


IDA and IDDC call for action in the vaccine roll-out. Including:

  • Prioritization: Global and national vaccination plans must prioritize reaching persons with disabilities.
  • Accessibility and active involvement: Health information campaigns and vaccination delivery sites must be inclusive and accessible.
  • Inclusive data collection and dissemination: Data must be disaggregated by age, sex and disability and shared in accessible formats.

IDA also welcomes hearing views or stories on COVID vaccination.

LFTW World Health Day: A call for inclusive COVID-19 vaccines (April)

In Austria, A Successful Advocacy description of how persons with disabilities were prioritized in vaccination plans (March, IDA)

In Brazil, Government includes people with disabilities in the priority group for the covid vaccination includes 7.7 million people, but not people with autism (in Portuguese, February, Estadão)

In India, Battle Against Exclusion: Disability rights advocates in India (February, IDA)

In Nigeria, Person With Disabilities Call for Inclusion in COVID-19 Vaccine Priority Group (March, Investorsking)

In the United States, Blind Americans face roadblocks booking online vaccine appointments (March, NBC News)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

Crip Camp and the Oscars

Do remember that Crip Camp is freely available to watch on youtube. It was nominated for the Oscars in the best documentary category. See also: ‘Crip Camp’ Brings the Inclusion Revolution to the Oscars (March, Human Rights Watch)

US and UK Toolkits for Inclusion & Accessibility: Changing the Narrative of Disability in Documentary Film (FWD-Doc) “I think we are all looking for this day in which people with disabilities are in films not because of their disability but because we are a part of society.”

President Barack Obama Moderates A Conversation on Disability Rights (March, Netflix)

Other films with disability themes nominated:

  • Feeling Through received a nomination for Live-Action Short and features a deafblind actor. You can watch Feeling Through on youtube.
  • Sound of Metal features a deaf storyline and was nominated in several categories. See some discussion here on coaching a hearing person to play lead (article better than headline, March, Los Angeles Times)

Inventions in Sound

I loved this episode from Raymond Antrobus. (March, BBC). Available as a subtitled video or a transcript, “that I hope offers an even richer version of this work than the audio version.” An edited excerpt:

— “What is sound?”

— “I think it's a kind of mythology. [It's] an inherited form, maybe. Just another way to to understand the world? [We] have talked a lot about sound being an invention of the hearing. Silence too. I think often about how our common understanding of sound is that it is natural and given and compulsory that it's just a thing that, um, I don't know occurs to us? But if it is that sound is, you know, waves knocking around in the cave of one's head, and then processed in some kind of approximated but not necessarily universal way, then isn't sound just a metaphor? It's one way for experiences to touch.”

See also an interview with Raymond Antrobus on his new children's book, Can Bears Ski? (March, Guardian).

Entertainment and Culture

Issue 9 of the Deaf Poets Society, an online journal of deaf and disabled literature and art (February)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States,


In the United Kingdom,

  • BBC sets out plans to become industry gold standard for workplace diversity and inclusion (February, BBC)

In the United States,

Television and film

Nailed It, Failed It and Meh How Disability is Depicted in Film and on Television (February, New Mobility)

Rosie Jones: ‘I hope disabled people can see me on TV and think: if she can do it, I can do it' (March, Guardian)

Data and Research

See more on the launch of the Disability Data Toolkit at the UN World Data Forum last year. (CBM Global)

What we’ve learned about inclusive data (March, Sightsavers)

Concerns regarding the use of the vulnerability concept in research on people with intellectually disability (January, British Journal of Learning Disabilities) “The paper is concerned with how the negative attributes often related to the label intellectual disability and vulnerability affect the decisions and views of researchers.”

In Canada, new research centre, Centre for Global Disability Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough, supporting anti-ableist research and global anticolonial disability studies.

In Kenya, Providing meaningful feedback to research participants with visual and hearing impairments (March, GSMA) “In the initial contact with research participants, we should have set up structures for communication throughout the process.” and “Perhaps most importantly, research participants wanted more information on what was being done with the research findings.”

Digital Accessibility, Inclusion and Technology

Artificial Intelligence

Designing AI Applications to Treat People with Disabilities Fairly -- IBM’s Six Steps to Fairness (Centre for Global Inclusion)

People With Disabilities Say This AI Tool Is Making the Web Worse for Them "AccessiBe aims to make the internet fully accessible to the visually impaired by 2025—but activists say the company's AI is making things worse. " (March, Vice)

Digital Divide

Leave no one Offline: Youth with Disabilities in the Digital World of Work (March, Decent Jobs for Youth)

In Nigeria, Bridging the Digital Divide For Persons With Disability (March, Premium Times)

Social Media

Social media has upped its accessibility game. "Captioning on social media can be hit or miss, making the experience sometimes alienating for deaf users" (March, Washington Post) Includes someone who trained the Tik Tok algorithm to “to only show her videos with captions or that use American Sign Language.”

This delightful new podcast describes memes for people who are blind or visually impaired on Say my Meme (March, Fast Company)

The true cost of disability reflections on inaccessibility with Clubhouse, a new social media platform (March, PV)

Twitter has asked for feedback on disability-related emojis used on the platform. (April)

Software and technology

Chrome now instantly captions audio and video on the web (March, The Verge)

What we can learn from Apple's dataviz accessibility accessibility on the Apple Watch (February, Sarah L. Fossheim)

Accessibility in games is advancing -- ow marketing needs to catch up (March, Games Industry)

Typographic accessibility in more detail (April, The Readability Group)

In the United States, Why Brands Must Make Accessibility the Cultural Default from the Director of Accessibility at Adobe (February, Altered)


Stark has opened a public library of accessibility resources, "the largest, centralized accessibility resource on the internet" (March, Stark)

Microsoft has a Virtual Event Playbook describing an event design model with accessibility and inclusion built-in (link to pdf)

On standards for web accessibility, A Sneak peek into WCAG 3.0 First Public Draft "WCAG 3.0 aims to encourage any big or small organizations to make their digital assets more accessible but not in a perfectionist’s way." (February, Digital A11y)

Are bad captions better than no captions? (March, Sheri Byrne-Haber)

On Zoom, No One Can See My Disability. It’s Changed How People Perceive Me. (March, Rooted in Rights)

Why and How to Create Accessible Social Media and Website Content (February, Meryl Evans)

Survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners survey of 758 practitioners from around the world (January, WebAIM) If you're interested in career change… salaries have increased over the years and 20% of respondents earned over $120,000/year.

In Europe,

In Mozambique, How accessible are key websites in Mozambique? a study of 90 websites and their accessibility violations by FAMOD and Data4Change (in Portuguese, February, A11y Moz)

In the United Kingdom, Making online public services accessible a government resource for public sector websites to meet accessibility regulations.

In the United States, COVID raises the stakes for digitally accessible documents (March, GCN)


In the United Kingdom, Radical Books: Closing the Asylum review (March, History Workshop)

In the United States, a podcast interview with Liat Ben-Moshe on the book Decarcerating Disability (no transcript, March, New Books Network)

Disaster Risk Reduction

In United States, The Huge Cost Of Ignoring Disabled People’s Sophisticated Understanding Of Disaster Planning (March, Forbes)

Education and childhood

Good to see updates to the Knowledge Hub from Inclusive Education Initiative. See also their Share 'n' Learn Session Series for the second anniversary of the initiative (April)

EdTech for Learners with Disabilities in Primary School Settings in LMICs A Systematic Literature Review (March, Edtech hub) “A key message emerging from the review is the gathering momentum that assistive technology apps for mobile phones and tablets are having on the education of learners with disabilities.” See also evidence for how EdTech can support pupils with disabilities is ‘thinly spread’ (University of Cambridge) And on TES.

Strengthening Inclusion Strategies for Children with Disabilities within the context of care reform, in low- and middle-income countries (February, UAFA)

UnrestrICTed Challenge awarded to three innovators scaling ICT solutions for children with disabilities (March, All Children Reading)

Keeping children with disabilities in education blog (February, Inclusive Futures)

Sightsavers Advocates for Inclusive Education Amid COVID-19 (March, Borgen Magazine)

In Algeria, A Year Without School COVID-19, Mental Health, and Students with Disabilities in Algeria (March, Education Popularis) Do check out Education Popularis as a new newsletter featuring education specialists from around the world.

In Bangladesh, World Learning and Sightsavers Use TAAP Toolkit to Examine Inclusive Education in Bangladesh (February, World Learning)

In Burkina Faso, A COVID-19 learning hero for blind learners in Burkina Faso (March, World Education Blog)

In Canada, COVID-19 has made education more accessible for university students with mobility disabilities (March, CBC)

In Colombia short film on Escuela Nueva schooling model "and shares the views of teachers on how they address the needs of children with disabilities in rural areas." (no subtitles?, Sorrel Milne)

From Eastern Europe, Special School to Resource Centre: Supporting Vulnerable Young Children in Central and Eastern Europe: A Guide for Positive Change (January, ISSA)

In Ethiopia, ‘People Consider Us Devils’: Exploring Patterns of Exclusion facing Adolescents with Disabilities in Ethiopia (March, European Journal of Development Research) “Intersecting barriers to inclusive education, heightened vulnerability to gender- and age-based violence, and increased psychosocial distress compared to peers without disabilities.”

In Haiti, Paving the Way for More Inclusive Education in Haiti (March, USAID)

In Ireland,

In Malawi, Impact of COVID-19 on the education of children with disabilities results from a survey with parents (March, UKFIET) All parents were unhappy, and 86% reported “that they had no contact with the school or the teachers” during school closures.

In Northern Macedonia, Right to Education for Youth with Disabilities in a human rights review (January, Civil Rights Defenders)

In Rwanda, Making Strides in Equity and Inclusion bringing more girls and children with disabilities into classrooms (March, GPE)

In the United Kingdom, When Britain turned its back on child abuse "Disabled children are being scarred for life by disturbing practices in schools " (March, UnHerd)

In the United States, Education Department canceling student debt for those with disabilities more than 40,000 borrowers (March, The Hill)

Employment, business and work

See the Zero Project Virtual Portal to catch up on its 2021 conference on emplyoment and ICT (February).

The Valuable 500 Global Trend Report Designing a world that includes everybody (link to pdf, March) Top three global trends: “Businesses are finding new and meaningful ways to improve user experience for disabled consumers”; entertainment industry has made progress; and COVID-19 is hitting persons with disabilities harder.

The UK development finance institution CDC group released guidance on disability inclusion for fund managers and companies (CDC) See also: New guidance will help investors and companies invest inclusively (March, Inclusive Futures)

From Purple Space, Great Global Impact Report 2020-2021.

In Bangladesh, Call to transform the disabled into wealth by utilising their talents (March, TBS)

In Ghana, “Your project is Godsent”-Tanoso disabled farmers speak of ReDIAL (March, ReDIAL)

In Italy, Disability and work intensity in Italian households (April, Review of Economics of the Household)

In Morocco, Trade Union Study Day highlights rights of workers with disabilities (in Arabic, April, Anfas Press)

In Nigeria, NGO sets to train 80 corporate organisations on workplace disability inclusion (March, Vanguard)

In India, Inclusive IT industries in India factsheet (link to pdf on linkedin, March, ILO GBDN)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States,

In Uruguay, Towards full inclusion in work for persons with disabilities: the network of Inclusive Businesses is on the way (in Spanish, March, NetUruguay)


If you didn't see it, catch-up on my interview on inclusive health with Antony Duttine from WHO Americas office, PAHO. We explore how disability fits into understanding health systems.

What are the most effective strategies for strengthening health systems for disability inclusive development? "Evidence on what works to strengthen health systems does not consider whether outcomes are equally as effective for people with disabilities as people without." (March, Disability Evidence Portal)

Disability Inclusive Universal Healthcare introductory video "clarifies what the disability inclusive healthcare should cover and why." (March, CIP) Short video that gets into lots of examples and deals with issues relating to costs and contexts.

Global Launch of Relab-HS, a programme for rehabilitation in health systems: five things we learned at the launch.

Rehabilitation and assistive technology to build a fairer, healthier world statement from Global Rehabilitation Alliance (link to pdf on google, April)

Disability in children and adolescents must be integrated into the global health agenda (March, BMJ)

In Bangladesh, Make healthcare more accessible for persons with disabilities (February, Daily Star)

In Ireland, Department of Health built secret dossiers on children with autism (March, RTE)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States, Misperceptions Of People With Disabilities Lead To Low-Quality Care: How Policy Makers Can Counter The Harm And Injustice (April, Health Affairs)

History and Memorial

In the United Kingdom, Dwoskin, disability, and…accessibility: Face of Our Fear 1991 film and discussion (March, Lux)

In the United States,

Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees

CBM and IOM to address barriers faced by migrants with disabilities (CBM)

UNHCR guide on Strengthening Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in 2021 (February, UNHCR) See also on Relief Web.

Disability, Disasters and displacement "a first step towards bridging the knowledge gap on how men, women and children with disabilities are disproportionately affected in disaster settings." (March, IDMC)

Guidelines from MSF on accessible and inclusive design “for the design of facilities which are user friendly for everyone”.

“Knowledge is power.” How can we innovate to make this true in humanitarian action? (March, Elrha) Reflecting on recent research and asking about the knowledge gap on inclusion for persons with disabilities and older people. “There is little evidence of commitments and guidance translating into practice.”

In Mozambique, Lessons in resilience "People with disabilities tell us how they’ve stayed strong in the face of cyclones, devastating floods and COVID-19. " (LFTW)

On Syria, see Humanity and Inclusion's profile of 10 years of conflict.

International Cooperation

Global Disability Summit Plus Two: review of progress on the implementation of summit commitments (March, IDA). While gaps are highlighted in “some thematic areas”, the overall message is strikingly positive:

“Now, 25% of all commitments are complete (up from 10% complete in 2019) and the majority (62%) of the remaining commitments are still underway; they are reported to remain on-track and are expected to be delivered by the date set”

“Organisations appear to have growing confidence around disability inclusion.”

In Asia Pacific, an intervention at the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development from Asia Pacific Disability Constituency (March, IDA)

In Europe, discussion of mapping disability inclusiveness in international cooperation (March, EDF)

In Mozambique, Contributions to the EU programme consultations 2021 - 2027 (in Portuguese, FAMOD)

From USAID, Disability Communications Tips "promotes empowering and respectful representation of persons with disabilities" (March)

Lived Experience and Opinion

In Canada, Will COVID-19 Change How We Think about Disability? The pandemic has made accessibility mainstream. Will it last? (March, The Walrus)

In Europe, Life with intellectual disability with an easy-to-read transcript (Inclusion Europe)

From the United Kingdom,

  • This is my motherhood "some of the experiences I have had of being a mother to the beautiful Betsy" (March, Write it Out Right) Shocking, beautiful, and moving in equal measure:
While you were encouraged to bond with your baby, play her music, sing to her and talk to her, I was told to go home and think about whether I wanted them to abort my ‘fetus’ at 7 months pregnant. Your midwife was planning for the birth of your baby, giving you advice and information on how to make it safe and good for you. My consultant had already discussed a late term abortion of my baby with his colleagues and authorised they would perform it, all without my knowledge. You were involved in every aspect of your care. I was ignorant of the discussions taking place around my daughter’s death being planned.
Her name is Betsy Iona.

From the United States,

“Eventually we found out that a social worker had used “mild” for my son’s developmental disability on his first assessment, so we had to argue with the state that, in fact, his disabilities were not mild. Someone at a local nonprofit advised us to create a spreadsheet that detailed every minute of every day that we had to do something for him that we might not have to do for a typical kid. I tried for 15 minutes, characterizing difference as struggle, then deleted the spreadsheet. I didn’t like the way it was making me look at my son.”

Mental Health

Barriers and drivers to stakeholder engagement in global mental health projects (April, International Journal of Mental Health Systems)

Policy and rights

The UN Committee for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities had its 24th Session virtually.

In Australia, The Australian-born children the government wants to deport because they have a disability (March, ABC)

In Bangladesh,

In China, Campaigners in China struggle to improve the lot of the disabled (March, Economist)

In Europe, reactions to the EU's new Disability Rights Strategy 2021-2030:

Also in Europe, Advocacy toolkit for ending coercion in mental healthcare: against the draft additional protocol to the Oviedo Convention,  (March, EDF)

In Germany How Germany violates conventions on disability rights "Germany's sheltered workshops for people with disabilities exist in breach of a UN treaty". Around 320,000 people are in sheltered workshops in Germany. (March, DW)

In Ghana, Appointing a disabled person as Oti Regional Minister is commendable but not worth celebrating - Disability Federation (April, Modern Ghana)

In Kenya, Guide on disability-inclusive legislation, planning and budgeting in countries (link to pdf, March, UDPK) “You must not take no for an answer. But do also remember that your county bureaucracy may not know too much about disability.”

In Morocco, National day of people with disability: the moment to highlight the situaiton of disability (April, Map Express)

In Peru, Disability Rights at Risk with New Bill "Congress Omitted Adequate Consultation Process " (March, Human Rights Watch) “By passing this bill, Peru’s Congress would be moving the country backward on disability rights.”

In Spain, Congress approves substituting lack of legal capacity of persons with disabilities for a system of support (in Spanish, March, EP Social)

In the United Kingdom,

In the United States, The Pandemic Slowed 2020 Federal ADA Title III Filings But 2021 May Be a Record Breaker (February, Seyfarth)

In West Africa,

Politics and Elections

In Europe, The right to vote for all is a matter of human dignity (March, Euractiv)

In Morocco, election bill angers people working on rights for persons with disabilities (in Arabic, link to facebook, March, Disability Horizons Arabic) More on Hesprees.

In the United States, episode on online activism discussing the #CripTheVote campaign (March, Disability Visibility Project) “There’s more disabled people working on campaigns and having a really active role in the formation of these platforms and policies.”

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

In South Africa, How prejudice strips people with disabilities of their sexual and reproductive rights (March, Bhekisisa)

"I am a woman who wants", a powerful essay from the UK (March, Guardian). “There is no perfect reconciliation”…

“It matters that when any adult spoke to me about my body, they did so in purely utilitarian terms, said that I should want the best range of motion, the least pain, the highest level of mobility, so that I could one day buy groceries, live independently, hold a job. Of course, nobody warned: you’ll want your hamstrings to be loose enough that it doesn’t hurt when your muscles tense before you have an orgasm. They also didn’t say: we want to do all this to you so that one day your body can be a thing that brings you pleasure, a thing that you don’t hate.”

Sign Languages

Discussing Bilingualism in Deaf Children new essay collection in honor of Robert Hoffmeister (April, Routledge)

In the United States,

Social Protection and poverty

A brief from LFTW on Disability-Inclusive Social Protection "A Safety Net Against Poverty" (February)

Talk on Inclusive Social Protection Systems with UNICEF disability and social protection specialist (video on youtube, Mar, Bridging the Gap)

See a People over Profit Manifesto for Rebuilding the social organization of care.

In Australia, these link headlines tell a story in itself:

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Non-contributory cash transfers: An instrument to promote the rights and well-being of children with disabilities (March, ECLAC)

In Malaysia, Evaluation of the Financial System for Disabled Persons in Malaysia (link to pdf, IJPPSW)

“There is no clear reasoning for a certain amount of financial aid given in each program despite persons with impairment and/or chronic illness have diverse levels of needs besides the extra costs of living they bear. Moreover, the respondents struggle to navigate the application process which may cause by different layers of authority, directly or indirectly. Government financial aid is usually perceived as special privileges, generous aid, or handout, causing the recipients looked down on and (consciously or unconsciously) disrespected by others.”

In the United States, a report on extra costs of disability from National Disability Institute:


In Afghanistan, wheelchair basketball national championship was held after two years (Twitter, March, Jess Markt)

In Egypt, a blind person diving under the sea (in Arabic, no subtitles, March, Mostafia Attia)

In France, Experience of a young para-swimmer (EDF).


In the United States,

Violence and Harassment

In Australia, report on Nature and extent of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability in Australia (March, Royal Commission) See coverage: Disabled young women face double the risk of sexual violence (March, Guardian)

In Europe, the 10th Anniversary of the Istanbul Convention (April, EDF)

From Indonesia, an infographic on reducing gender-based violence by Himpunan Wanitas Disabilitas Indonesia (HWDI), the national organization of women with disabilities (link to facebook, insufficient image description, April, DRF)

In Japan, Japanese man who killed 19 disabled people sentenced to death (March, BBC)

In Spain, condemnation of violence against a person with intellectual disability in Mallorca (March, Plena inclusión)

In Turkey, Barbaric thug kidnaps disabled gay man, beats him, and shares pictures (March, Pink News)

In the United Kingdom, I Can’t Run From What Causes My Fear. Why disabled women’s voices have to part of the discussion around harassment and assault. (March, Conscious Being)

Women with disabilities and women's day

Statement for the Commission on the Status of Women on the right of political participation of women with disabilities (March, IDA) See also the side events (IDA)

Celebrating Women with Disabilities on International Women’s Day (Disability Rights Fund)

Hopes for the post-pandemic world from a global group of women (LFTW)

From Canada, More inclusive future needed: Disabled women say they face added level of inequality (March, The Guardian / Saltwire)

From Ghana, Women with Mental Health Conditions video documentary (March, Ghana Somubi Dwumadie)

From India, Women with disabilities: Erased as individuals, invisible as a group (March,DailyO)

In Kenya, Let women with disabilities lead (March, Nation)

In the United Kingdom,

From the United States,



Bridging the Gap organized OPDs meet the EU: joining forces for inclusive development (April 15)

Cities for All Innovation Design Sprint facilitated by Google (April 26 - 30, World Enabled)

Microsoft will host a Ability Summit "a two-day, free digital event experience to Imagine, Build, Include, and Empower the future of disability inclusion and accessibility" (May 5 - 6)



The University of Leeds is doing a survey on Disability Activisim in Europe for 18-35 year olds.


Sustainability Journal will have a special edition on 'Critical junctures in Assistive Technology and Disability Inclusion' Call for papers. (deadline 31 May, GDI Hub)


Carleton, in Canada, have a PhD fellowship in Critical Disability Studies (deadline June 30)


The UN Human Rights Council is looking for a Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism (deadline 13 April)

IDA is looking for a Manager of GLAD (deadline 9 April)

Save the Children are looking for:


The source for news here is all of you sharing disability news, especially those sharing on twitter. Thanks to everyone for spreading the word about what's going on, and to people who send me links directly.

These newsletters are produced by me, Peter Torres Fremlin. Any opinions or mistakes are mine. Many thanks for Center for Inclusive Policy's support to this edition.

And of course thank you to readers for kind words and sharing this newsletter with those that need more disability news in their life.

Keep dancing,