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Missing Voices: Speaking up for the Rights of Children and Adolescents with Disabilities 

Missing Voices: Speaking up for the Rights of Children and Adolescents with Disabilities
Chapter:
Missing Voices: Speaking up for the Rights of Children and Adolescents with Disabilities
Author(s):

Myron L. Belfer

and Diana Samarasan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199213962.003.0032
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date: 12 November 2019

Myron Belfer and Diana Samarasan note that the contract model of Western justice produces outliers, including people with severe disabilities and children with disabilities. Noting the increasing proportion of children with disabilities, they comment how although children’s needs, development, and rights have been appreciated more clearly in recent history, the potential of children with disabilities continues to be ignored and they are often regarded as sources of shame or blame. Often institutionalized, isolated, and exploited, the approach to their clinical care is frequently conceived on a deficit model rather than one which emphasizes and enables participation. The authors note the direction within the WHO’s International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps, the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and particularly the UN CRPD, to progressively mandate the participation of people (including children) with disabilities. They examine two prominent examples of initiatives to address the lack of voice for the rights of children with disabilities: the Guardianship Councils in Brazil and the Social Charter of the European Union. Child health and related clinicians at all levels of training should embrace a paradigm shift towards inclusion of children with disabilities.

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