Education and Childhood

This page features disability news on Education and Childhood from the Debrief Library. See also news on other subjects.



Global State of Inclusion in Education “the vision of international inclusive education is falling short of including all learners, no matter their identity, background, or ability.” (Feb, Special Olympics Global Youth and Education) See also an overview: “too many children with intellectual disabilities remain marginalized.”

Disability Inclusive Pre-Primary Education Landscape Review. (Jan, Education Links)

Measuring inclusive teaching practices that support learning for all. Includes a module with tools on disability. (Jan, World Bank)

Inclusion is better for everyone but children with disabilities are 6 times more likely to be out of school. (Dec, Plan International)

The School That Calls the Police on Students Every Other Day “An Illinois school for students with disabilities has routinely used the police to handle discipline, resulting in the highest arrest rate of any district in the country. In one recent year, half of Garrison School students were arrested.”

Inclusive Education for Learners with Multisensory Impairment: a book that “offers a synthesis of best practice with the latest theory and research”. (Nov, McGraw Hill)

Inclusive Interventions for Children with Disabilities – An evidence and gap map from low- and middle-income countries. See a visualization of data and gaps in different areas. (Dec, UNICEF)

The Inclusion Dialogue “Based on fascinating and unique conversations with leading academic experts across the globe, Joanne Banks uses in-depth interviews to examine current debates in special and inclusive education and provides a clear overview of the key tensions which impact policy and practice across different national contexts. Her book also highlights how inclusive education policies do not always translate into inclusive practices in our schools.” (Dec, Routledge)

The evidence for benefits of flexible and adaptive curricula in inclusive education. (Jul, Disability Evidence Portal)

Tools to support TVET policy makers and education providers to plan and deliver inclusive TVET provision for persons with disabilities (Nov, Leave No One Behind)

Fact Sheet on Children with Disabilities (Aug, UNICEF)

Transforming education: reflections on the calls made to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. (Oct, Sightsavers)

The world is diverse and education should reflect it by including persons with disabilities. (in Spanish, Sep, UN)

Global Partnership for Education factsheet on on inclusive education for children with disabilities. (Sep, Global Partnership on Education)

UNICEF School Guide to Supporting Marginalized Caregivers of Children with Disabilities “Inclusive practices are supported when there is meaningful family engagement.” (Apr, UNICEF)

Value for Money: “Why investing in children with disabilities is worth every penny” (Jul, Able Child Africa)

The Role of Parenting Interventions in Optimizing School Readiness for Children With Disabilities in Low and Middle Income Settings. “The global agenda urgently needs to move beyond token recognition of this marginalized group to inclusive early child intervention programs that consider existing practices, cultural beliefs, and developmental goals in the targeted communities. Children with disabilities in LMICs should receive culturally sensitive parenting interventions to improve learning and educational outcomes.” (Jun, Frontiers in Pediatrics)

Education Cannot Wait Policy and Accountability Framework on Disability Inclusion: Realizing the right to inclusive and equitable quality education of children and adolescents with disabilities in emergencies and protracted crises (May)

A call to action from a coalition of disability organizations on Transforming Education Summit calling for “resilient and inclusive education systems, equitable financing, and the removal of institutional and social barriers to inclusion so every child can benefit from quality education.” (GLAD)

Testing a wide range of technologies to address the reading needs of marginalized children “35% of the awards supporting solutions for children with disabilities.” (May, World Education Blog)

Deaf education in the developing world: what needs to change post-pandemic? (Jun, Global Partnership on Education)

World Vision's child protection work A visual journey of disability inclusion (April, World Vision)

Dismantling barriers and advancing disability-inclusive education: an examination of national laws and policies across 193 countries:

“While strong guarantees exist across diverse countries, we find that notable gaps remain. Forty-six percent of countries do not broadly prohibit disability-based discrimination through the completion of secondary education. Legislation in 35% of countries does not guarantee persons with disabilities access to integrated education in mainstream education environments along with necessary individualized accommodations through the completion of secondary school. Thirty-one percent of countries that make primary education compulsory do not pair compulsory education with guarantees to integration in mainstream education environments and individualized supports for students with disabilities.” (Apr, International Journal of Inclusive Education)

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) adopted a Joint Statement on the Rights of Children with Disabilities (link to docx, OHCHR)

A short guide on Achieving Quality Education for All (Mar, Centre for Inclusive Futures.)

A research protocol for study of Effectiveness of Inclusive Interventions for Children with Disabilities in Low- and Middle-income Countries. (link to pdf, Mar, UNICEF)

Evidence brief on overcoming issues of access to digital learning for primary school learners with disabilities in LMICs during Covid-19.

“Primary school learners with disabilities continue to face barriers or continue to be left behind in online/digital learning solutions as a result of the enduring implications of the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on education. However, access can be improved if, learners with disabilities, parents and their teachers are consulted in the design and implementation of digital learning solutions.” (Jan, Disability Evidence Portal)

Evidence brief on utilising community resources to detect and support children with disabilities? - (Mar, Disability Evidence Portal)

Researching Disability-Inclusive Education: Perspectives from Researchers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

"Northern scholarship has long dominated the policy discourse on disability-inclusive education. The continued absence of Southern scholarship and overreliance of evidence and perspectives from the North is impeding contextual understanding and action on disability-inclusive education. While the lack of robust evidence is a concern, in parallel, there is an increasing acknowledgment that researchers based in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have limited opportunities to undertake, engage and publish their own research. This impedes their ability to contribute meaningfully to the disability-inclusive education agenda, both at a national and international level." (Feb, IEI)

When All Truly Means Everyone: Fulfilling the Right to Education of Children with Disabilities in Our Global Education Crisis Response. ECW is "committed to reaching 10% of children with disabilities across our investment portfolio. " (Feb, Education Cannot Wait)

An in-depth Inclusive Education Resources and Toolkit "reference for all staff working in education programming to mainstream inclusion in their work" (Jan, Save the Children)

Further events on the CaNDER Seminar Series engaging seminars bringing researchers and practitioners together. (Feb)

A "landscape review" of ICT for Disability-Inclusive Education (link to pdf, Jan, World Bank)

In Inclusive education, The case for early identification and early intervention in assistive technology: assistive technology enables learning and so children who need it must be identified as soon as possible. (Dec, Assistive Technology Journal)

Best of UNICEF Research 2021: highlights research on support provided to children with disabilities in Montenegro and how children with developmental disabilities in Palestine experience stigma and discrimination. (Jan, UNICEF)

A new book Global Directions in Inclusive Education Conceptualizations, Practices, and Methodologies for the 21st Century. Edited By Matthew J. Schuelka, Suzanne Carrington (Dec, Routledge)


In Eastern and Southern Africa Mapping and Recommendations on Disability-Inclusive Education. (Mar, UNICEF)

Cross-Country Brief on Trends in Inclusive Education (Mastercard Foundation)

Mapping Learning to Earning Opportunities in Eastern and Southern Africa:

“Several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa provide government sponsored skills-building and training to youth with disabilities in both special and inclusive settings. Despite these efforts and emerging promising practices, limited outreach leaves youth with disabilities and their families unaware of initiatives. In addition, employers, mentors and investors often do not have processes in place to successfully onboard interns, mentees and employees with disabilities, and some may be reluctant to host them at all because of negative perceptions of disability.” (Jan, UNICEF)

Manifesto on Inclusive Education made by representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities. (Nov, African Disability Forum)

A needs assessment of School Violence and Bullying of Children with Disabilities in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region. I hadn't heard of this before, in Zambia, one informant reported:

“There are traditional beliefs, that having sexual relations with a person who is disabled helps you to become cured from a particular disease such as HIV and AIDS. That persons with disabilities can be used as avenues for cleansing and that takes a step further from bullying into sexual violence, sexual abuse, and so on." (link to docx, Leonard Cheshire)


Special schools should be abolished “Educators are pushing for special schools to be scrapped and for all students to be educated together, regardless of their abilities.” (Feb, Herald Sun)

Experts slam ‘culture of low expectations’ surrounding kids with disability, ‘routinely being let down by a widespread lack of support across both mainstream and specialist schools.’ (Jun, The Educator)

What we should all know about authentic inclusive classrooms (Jul, EduResearch Matters)

Why do students with disability go to 'special schools' when research tells us they do better in the mainstream system? (Jun, the Conversation)

‘Devastating impact’: Rise in proportion of disabled students expelled from Victorian government schools during COVID pandemic. “We expect it to be worse this year,” she said. “Every time students have gone back to school following a lockdown period, we have seen both formal and informal exclusions increase.” (Apr, The Age)


Majority of children with disabilities in Bangladesh not enrolled in formal education. A national survey shows that “60 percent of children with disabilities aged 5-17 years are not in education.” (Jan, The Daily Star)

Disability and Intrahousehold Investment Decisions in Education: Empirical Evidence from Bangladesh:

“we find the existence of disability bias on the part of parents, especially with regard to the enrollment decision for their children. Results from the direct method using the individual child dataset suggest that there is also a possibility of disability bias in investment decisions even for children who are already enrolled.” (link to pdf, Asian Development Review)

Over 500,000 special needs children affected by school closure "As many as 1,700 private and 77 government special needs schools were closed all over Bangladesh, impeding the mental and physical growth of special needs children. " [Since March 2020] (Feb, Dhaka Tribune)


Belgium has the most pupils in special education in all of Europe: why is that? (In Flemish, I used Google Translate, Oct, VRT)


Studies on disability in education: anti-ableism, intersectionality, and the ethics of care. (link to pdf, in Portuguese, UDESC)


Discussion on Families We Need Erin Raffety's book on Disability, Abandonment, and Foster Care's Resistance in Contemporary China. (Podcast without transcript, Mar, New Books Network)


Violent Discipline in North Kivu: The Role of Child Gender and Disability Status in Cross-sectional Analysis: “levels of violence in conflict-affected households in North Kivu, DRC are high, with women reporting higher levels of violent discipline overall, and amplified use of violence against girl children with disabilities.” (Feb, Maternal and Child Health Journal)


Revisiting Equity COVID-19 and Education of Children with Disabilities (Dec, WISE)


Better Health, Better Lives? 10-Years on From the World Health Organization’s Declaration on the Health of Children With Intellectual Disabilities (Mar, Journal of Intellectual Disabilities)


Translating Human Rights in Education: The Influence of Article 24 UN CRPD Comparing the meanings of inclusive education in Nigeria and Germany, and how the development of inclusive education has depended on “institutionalized special education” rather than a rights-based approach. (University of Michigan Press)


STEM education for blind kids is the need of the hour. (Jan, News Trail)

Inclusive education in practice: disability, ‘special needs’ and the (Re)production of normativity in Indian childhoods. (Sep, Children's Geographies)

Around 71% of govt schools across country made "disabled friendly" according to Ministry data (Jun, Times of India)

For kids with disabilities, the pandemic may have been a reprieve “If not going to school has given them their first taste of learning in a safe and happy place, then schools have to be made safer and happier now that they are heading back” (Mar, Indian Express) I'm sure this doesn't generalize, but great to see cases of people who had a better time.


Children with disabilities waiting years for vital services access to disability services is full of “constant worry, uncertainty, inadequate support and endless struggle”. (Jan, Irish Examiner)

Special classes not best option for students with disabilities:

“Although special classes have been in existence in Ireland since the mid-1970s, their numbers have increased dramatically over the last decade from more than 500 in 2011 to over 2,000 this year. These developments have taken place in the context of research, by the Economic and Social Research Institute and more recently the Department of Education and Skills (DES) Inspectorate, which show little evidence that students in these classes benefit from such placements.” (Jul, Irish Times)


Embracing and rejecting the medicalization of autism (Feb, Social Science and Medicine)


Jordanian parents challenge government policy on disabled children. (Jan, Raseef 22)


Recommendations from a research study on inclusive education and assistive technology: “tax exemption on assistive technology would contribute to the development of education targeting learners with disabilities.” (Feb, NewTimes)

Feature on ANDY's work to promote early childhood education for children with disabilities. (Jan, KBC Channel)

Task-force must address state of disability rights in schools (Nov, Irungu Houghton)

Are ALL Our Children Learning Uwezo Learning Assessment 2021 "1 in 5 girls with disability dropped out of school due [to] Covid-19 enforced schools' closure". (Feb, Usawa Agenda)


Experts of the Committee on the Rights of the Child Commend Kuwait’s Disability Allowance for Children (Sep, OHCHR)


Children with disabilities receive rehabilitation to walk and speak, and prepare to go to school. (Jan, UNICEF)


Short documentary film Falling Behind exploring “Mismanagement of Funds and A Lack of Accessible Financial Assistance Information Put Students with Disabilities at Risk” (Dec, Disability Justice Project)

‘I might be lucky and go back to school’: Factors affecting inclusion in education for children with disabilities in rural Malawi. (Nov, African Journal on Disability)


Inclusive education: four years after reform, only 2% of matriculating students have disabilities. (Mar, Yo También.)

Middle East and North Africa

The real lives behind the data: Children with disabilities in education across Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territory. (link to pdf, Sep, Humanity and Inclusion)


Revisiting Equity COVID-19 and Education of Children with Disabilities (Dec, WISE)

Books adapted into Nepali Sign-Language by Let's Read Asia with the Nepali Government (Dec, All Children Reading)


Childhood disability in rural Niger: a population-based assessment using the Key Informant Method. (Mar)


Translating Human Rights in Education: The Influence of Article 24 UN CRPD Comparing the meanings of inclusive education in Nigeria and Germany, and how the development of inclusive education has depended on “institutionalized special education” rather than a rights-based approach. (University of Michigan Press)

Inclusive Education celebrating an amazing partnership & lasting impact (May, CBM UK)


An Agent-Based Simulation Model of Epidemic Spread in a Residential School. “An agent-based model of a school for deaf children was developed from Norwegian archival sources and 1918 influenza pandemic data to test impacts of non-pharmaceutical interventions. Results show differences in the timing and pattern of spread based on whether the first case is a student or staff member, while epidemics are smaller with more student bedrooms or a hospital ward.” (Jan, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research)


Revisiting Equity COVID-19 and Education of Children with Disabilities (Dec, WISE)


Visually impaired teachers want teaching assistants (Oct, The New Times)

Sierra Leone

Transforming learning for children with disabilities in Sierra Leone’s most remote communities. (Nov, Global Partnership on Education)

South Africa

Accessibility to education for persons with disability ”Shocking statistics reveal how people living with disabilities in South Africa are denied a right to education.” (Jan, Soweto Urban)

Dire shortage of school places for autistic children “There are currently 133 children on the waiting list at Quest School for Learners with Autism, the only public specialist school in Gqeberha” (Feb, GroundUp)

Towards interventions on school dropouts for disabled learners amidst and post-COVID-19 pandemic. Calls for a “a systematic multi-stakeholder local community-based intervention approach”. (Jun)

Too many disabled children still fall through schooling gaps. Article points to a wild range of estimates of children with disabilities out of school: from 40,000 to 600,000. (Apr, Mail and Guardian)

Inclusive education in South Africa: path dependencies and emergences. “Addressing barriers to inclusive education seems to be less about clearing successive hurdles in a steeplechase race and more about understanding the complex ecology of education systems, and the various actors and socio-cultural, historical and economic processes that constitute these systems.” (Apr, International Journal of Inclusive Education)

South Asia

Deaf children and mental health: The challenges and how we’re tackling them. (Nov, Global Partnership on Education)

South Sudan

feature on supporting access to education for children with disabilities: My Wheelchair, My Journey. (Feb, Education Cannot Wait)


A promising future for Ameer a blog on non-formal education programmes that reached hundreds of children with disabilities. (Nov, Global Partnership on Education)

How Cognitive and Pyschosocial Difficulties Affect Learning Outcomes: A study of primary school children. “The findings suggest that psychosocial and cognitive support for children in emergencies is needed, not just for their wellbeing but to enable them to learn effectively.” (link to pdf, Mar, Journal on Education in Emergencies)


Leaving no one behind an article exploring inclusive education. (Dec, The Citizen)


Experts blame special needs poor grades on few teachers. “The poor performance among special needs learners, both in classwork and at national examinations, has been attributed to a lack of skilled teachers and inadequate learning materials and equipment, a top education official has said.” (Feb, Monitor)

They may have lost sight, but digital assistive learning technologies have given learners a vision. (Dec, UNICEF)

Concern as deaf learners perform poorly in Primary Leaving Exams. (Jan, Monitor)

A Fundraiser by Connor Scott-Gardner to help Salama Blind School after a Devastating Fire (Nov, Go Fund Me)

Understanding child disability: Factors associated with child disability at the Iganga-Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (Apr, Plos One)

United Kingdom

Children with Disabilities forced to travel hundreds of miles for school. (Apr, The Bureau)

Changing Children’s Attitudes to Disability through Music: "A core driver for change appeared to be sharing enjoyable musical activities with competent musicians who had disabilities." (Feb, Disabilities)

United States

Supreme Court unanimously rules for deaf student in education case. (Mar, PBS)

Oklahoma votes down ban of corporal punishment on disabled children. (Mar, Washington Post)

How Educators Secretly Remove Students With Disabilities From School. “The removals — which can include repeated dismissals in the middle of the day or shortening students’ education to a few hours a week — are often in violation of federal civil rights protections for those with disabilities.” (Feb, Yahoo! News)

Disability rights advocates call on Texas Legislature to better protect students from restraints. “Jeanna TenBrink said three years ago, when her daughter Leah was in middle school, she started coming home with unexplained bruises and getting upset when it was time to go to school. But because Leah is autistic and mostly nonverbal, TenBrink didn’t know why her daughter was upset until she managed to get access to camera footage.” (Feb, Texas Public Radio)

Education Department Finds that Most States Repeatedly Fail To Meet Special Ed Responsibilities (Jul, Disability Scoop)

New Guidance Helps Schools Support Students with Disabilities and Avoid Discriminatory Use of Discipline (Jul, Department of Education)

Surveillance Tech Is Wrongly Accusing Disabled Students of Cheating on Tests (Jun, Truthout)

Reflections on Disabled Students & Active Shooter Preparedness “How can we use anti-ableism in all aspects of gun violence prevention?” (May, Crip News)

Longest Sit-In in UCLA History Ends with Massive Victory for Students: "A 16-day sit-in by a coalition of students striking for hybrid access and equity for marginalized students got results. " (Feb, Knock LA)

I Gave My Child a Smartphone and It's Been the Best Thing for Her. More screen time has been beneficial for my disabled 10-year-old daughter. Here are five rules that make it all work for us. (Feb, Wired)

Cost of Heaven a moving exploration through graphics and text on the closure of a deaf school and importance of its heritage. "The cultural strength of the Deaf schools enable children to learn without the constant pressure to 'overcome' disability." (text transcript also available, Adrean Clark)

West Africa

Information and Communication Technologies and Inclusive Education "Despite their potential to foster inclusive learning, the use of ICT in schools in the intervention countries faces a number of barriers" (Humanity and Inclusion)

Higher Education


Moving labs: a checklist for researchers with disabilities. (Dec, Nature Careers)

A discussion forum on quality higher education for persons with disabilities in low and middle income countries. (Sep, CIP)

A review of the anthology Improving Accessible Digital Practices in Higher Education (Apr, Disability Studies Community)


Barriers facing disabled activism at university: ‘Disability is often relegated to “second-class” status in student activism. More effort, listening and discernment is needed from other activists to build a genuinely inclusive student movement.’ (Aug, Honi Soit)

Women with disabilities 'underestimated' as battle for equality in science careers heats up. (Jul, ABC News)


A shot in the dark: The state of higher education for persons with disabilities (Feb, TBS)


Understanding Inclusion and Accessibility in Higher Education: A Case Study from Bhutan. (Jan, Fora Education)

South Africa

The subjective experiences of students with invisible disabilities at a historically disadvantaged university. (Jun, African Journal on Disability)

3 ways in which universities can be more inclusive to disabled individuals during an emergency.

United Kingdom

Disabled students are being let down by universities (Jun, Metro)

United States

‘It’s Backdoor Accessibility’: Disabled Students’ Navigation of University Campus:

“Introducing the concept of ‘backdoor accessibility,’ this paper examines exclusionary practices and systemic ableism to propose that disabled students are routinely offered a lesser quality service that is argued to be ‘better than nothing.’ In order to navigate these barriers, many students reported the additional expenditure of time, resources and energy.”

College students with disabilities deserve accessible spaces “Student journalists at the University of Maryland spent months scrutinizing their campus and talking to people with disabilities. More college newspapers should.” (May, Washington Post)