VERY able Young Boys and Girls

Sofia has a visual disability: she learned to read Braille and write in a special education school and she now attends the same class as any other students with normal vision. (Rolex Dela Pena / EFE)

Ignorance and lack of resources cause discrimination against children with disabilities

Around the world there are 93 million children with disabilities, although there could be many more.

These children are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society: they are often discriminated against and excluded as they are, they are less likely to have access to an education and are more exposed to abuse because of their disability.

Ignorance towards these disabilities and the lack of resources to provide them with the care they need, leads in many cases, to them being discriminated against.

Besides, the vast majority live in developing countries, where it is more difficult for them to receive the treatment needed.

What is Disability?

According to the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with disabilities are people who have physical, mental, intellectual or sensory deficiencies.

These deficiencies make it difficult for them to participate in society or have the same opportunities in life.

A person can be born with a different condition or develop it throughout their life. Causes are different: it can be something genetic or it can be because of something that happened, like a war or an accident. It can also be a consequence of a systematic situation: malnutrition, poverty and the effect of living in precarious and not very healthy conditions.

The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) also talks about children with disabilities and stresses that their rights require even more protection, so that they can live on equal terms with the rest of the children.

Disability or -in fact- Ability?

You must have often heard of the expression “disabled people”, but people are actually defined by many other things apart from their abilities. For this reason, the term “people with disabilities” is used.

So to promote and encourage integration of these people into society, the term “people with abilities” or “people with alternative capabilities” is becoming increasingly used. In this way, it is these people’s great potential what stands out.

In fact, many of these conditions do not prevent from leading a normal life like any other person, at all. What is more: nothing is stopping them from standing out for their abilities, physical or intellectual.

Paralympic athletes are just an example of how far people with disabilities can get in Sports, thanks to their body’s abilities.

For example there is Stephen Hawking who, despite suffering from a chronic illness that physically disabled him, is one of the most respected physicists in the world.

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