There are many common barriers for disabled kids, even today, in 2023. There have been many advocates and social support initiatives over the past few years by organizations like Berry Family Services, found at this website: https://berryfamilyservices.com/. Yet, there is still a long way to go. From accessibility problems to discrimination, here are a few common problems.
Lack of Wider Representation
Representation in the media appears to be somewhat picky. Although there is better representation for minorities like Black people, LGBTQ+, and women than there used to be in mainstream media, there is still far to go. All groups should be represented and media must be diverse. There is also the issue of representation of disabled people, especially children. In the modern media, including movies, disabled children are still yet to be represented.
Barriers for Disabled Kids Still Includes Accessibility
Accessibility has come a long way, and there are numerous designs and technologies to help disabled kids of all conditions and ages. Yet even though 2023 is the year of advanced technology, accessibility in public places, parks, and even schools is still somewhat lacking. For example, many public institutions have yet to install elevators, handrails, and ramps for wheelchair access. Also, some Uber drivers still illegally refuse to accept rides from people with service dogs.
No Support in School
A lack of specialized support in school is a constant barrier for disabled children. And this is having a major impact on learning for them. For example, UNICEF reports that only 42% of girls and 51% of boys with disabilities complete their studies successfully. And this is not for lack of enthusiasm for learning on their part, but largely because of inadequate support by schools. Unsurprisingly, disabled children from lower-income backgrounds are affected the most by this.
Bullying and Social Issues
Caused mainly by a lack of understanding, there is a high rate of bullying and social stigma toward disabled children, and shockingly, not all of it comes from other kids. Children from diverse backgrounds can also be more susceptible to bullying, and there are still stigmas like those mentioned here:
- Disabled or autistic children are unable to care for themselves or make decisions.
- There is no way a disabled child can learn at a “normal” school level.
- Major adjustments will need to be made to accommodate disabled people.
- Kids with one type of disability also have others that need to be addressed.
- Those with learning disabilities are like the age at which they learn.
Some stigmas are around relatively benign conditions. For example, there are still people out there who believe epilepsy is contagious and won’t socialize with someone with the condition. Harmful stereotypes are also a driving force behind some of the worst disability stigmas.
No Digital Technology Support
We live in a digitally connected world. Even so, disabled children are feeling more isolated than ever. Our reliance on technology has entered every facet of society, such as making friends, accessing civic services, and education. However accessing these can be challenging for someone with disabilities. Think what it’s like for a child not to be able to play video games with their friends. Advancements are being made, like Sony’s PS5 Access Controller being fit for disabilities.
Discrimination Barriers for Disabled Kids
Discrimination comes in many forms for many different people. Black families, women, and disabled kids, especially. There have been many efforts to raise awareness about discrimination over the past few years with movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. But can you recall one for disabled kids that made headline news and changed how they are included? UNICEF reports that 10% of the 240 million (2.4 million) disabled kids globally are denied their rights.
“UNICEF reports that 10% of the 240 million (2.4 million) disabled kids globally are denied their rights.”
No Preparation for Independent Living
Of course, kids grow up, and this includes disabled children. Transitioning into adulthood can be challenging for any child, yet the challenges are infinitely harder for disabled people. Take being hearing impaired as an example; this could be an automatic denial from getting a job interview, as employers don’t want to deal with it.
Being underrepresented and accessibility issues are common barriers for disabled kids even in 2023. Despite the added bullying and stigmas thrown in, there is hope for this demographic that is also often left unprepared for life as an adult, unless family steps in to help.