Children with disabilities are at a greater risk of falling behind in learning because of the system, according to a new study by the UN Children’s Fund.
The researchers say that while it is possible for schools to make a difference, it’s much harder for them to do so.
They also found that children with disabilities in the UK, Australia and Europe are more likely to be excluded from the workforce, and to be in school longer.
They found that while only one in four children in the US has a disability, almost half in the United Kingdom and almost a third in the EU have some form of a disability.
This study found that almost half of the world’s children with a disability do not receive equal access to education, and that children who have a disability are far more likely than their non-disabled peers to be placed in institutions.
“It is not just that children have disabilities, but that they are more frequently placed in isolation, deprived of their peers, denied access to primary and secondary schools, and unable to attend regular events such as sports or arts,” said Dr Kate Jones, from the UN Childs Fund.
“This can affect their mental health and development.”
The UN report found that just 5 per cent of children aged between five and 14 have a recognised disability, which is the lowest rate of any age group in the world.
It found that only a third of all children with disability in the OECD have an educational attainment level that is above the national average.
“There is a lot of evidence to show that children are not getting the most out of their education, that their learning is being negatively affected and they are not being given the opportunities they need to reach their full potential,” Dr Jones said.
“Children with disabilities should have equal access in education, access to opportunities for play and social interaction, and be provided with opportunities to learn from the outside world.”
In the UK the number of children with non-disabilities is growing rapidly, but only 10 per cent have a primary school qualification and one in three has a secondary school qualification.
However, the figures for children with special needs and disabilities are much lower, with only one per cent having a tertiary qualification.
Dr Jones, who is also a research fellow at the University of Manchester, said the findings highlight the importance of making a real change.
“We need to do something to change that and the more that we do, the more likely it is that the system will catch up,” she said.
Dr. Andrew White, professor of children’s health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a co-author of the report, said that while the number is not growing, it is increasing and it is changing.
“The problem is getting worse, not better, and we’re seeing a lot more children with physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, and speech impairments, and they’re all on the spectrum,” he said.
The report found the proportion of children who were disabled had risen from 25 per cent in 1990 to 34 per cent by 2025.
It also found there was a significant drop in the proportion who were able to participate in sport and exercise as well as having a normal academic record, and the number who were physically disabled fell from 10 per per cent to 5 per a decade.
But there are more children and their families with disabilities today than there were 20 years ago, the report found.
It said: “Children who are physically disabled are less likely to receive formal disability support from their carer, and more likely, to be left to themselves.”
Dr Jones and Dr White say that, as a society, we have to start taking more responsibility for the well-being of children.
“As we are all in this together, we should recognise that the disability we have is not the disability of one person, but rather an aspect of society, one that affects us all,” Dr White said.
What is a disability?
A disability is a specific set of skills or disabilities, which may be: learning disabilities – for example, learning difficulties with language or visual or hearing impairments