Including Orphans and Vulnerable Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Development Programs

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Resource author(s): Marcy Levy, Lyn Messner, and Donald Wertlieb, Marcy Levy, Lyn Messner, and Donald Wertlieb

Key topics: Gender and Inclusive Development, Health, Technical Assistance, Youth


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There are no reliable estimates of the number of children living with disabilities. Estimates vary greatly, depending on the definition of disability, the methodology, and the measurement tool used (World Bank 2011; WHO 2012b). The most commonly used estimates are that approximately 93 million children aged 14 or younger live with a moderate or severe disability of some kind (UNICEF 2013c); and that globally, up to 150 million children (aged 0-18) experience some form of disability: learning, speech, physical, cognitive, sensory, or emotional (Global Partnership for Children 2012). Other data suggest that between 5 and 10 percent of all children in Africa are children with disabilities (UNICEF 2013b). However, the true numbers remain unknown.

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