A call from UNICEF for social inclusion of children with disabilities in Africa

During the commemoration of the 2012 world day of the African child with theme “the right of the child with disabilities, The duty to Protect, Respect,Promote and Fulfill “, a 17 year old child who lost his sight at the age of 10 due to river blindness speaks for many of Africa’s children with disabilities when he says “I thought it was the end of my world, but with education, I am hopeful that I will be useful in society and not be a beggar in the streets.” Bai Kamara is enrolled at the UNICEF-supported Educational Centre for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the capital Freetown where work is underway to put the Sierra Leone Child Rights Act into Braille.

Millions of children in Africa live with some sort of disability. On the Day of the African Child 2012, UNICEF calls on families, communities and governments throughout the continent to protect children with disabilities from discrimination, violence and neglect, and to provide them with access to all the services they need to grow up healthy and live up to their potential.

“Children living with disabilities continue to be the most excluded among all groups of children in Africa. Only a small portion of them are in school, and far fewer receive the adequate inclusive education they need,” said the Chief of UNICEF’s Disability Unit, Rosangela Berman Bieler.

Country-specific information suggests that between 5 and 10 per cent of all children in Africa grow up with disabilities. The leading causes of disability – in addition to genetic disorders and complications during birth — include poliomyelitis, measles, meningitis and cerebral malaria, as well as inadequate prenatal and neonatal health care services and inadequate diet leading to stunting.

So far, 25 out of 55 African countries have not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that stipulates that children with disabilities should be protected against all forms of discrimination, and that they should have access to education, health services and protection from violence. By becoming a signature state, countries commit themselves to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

School enrolment among children with disabilities is much lower in most countries than among other children. A 2011 UNICEF study undertaken in Madagascar found that on average only 11 per cent of children with disabilities attended primary school, with school attendance among girls much lower. Almost all children interviewed reported that they were ridiculed by other children. Because of such bullying, as well as a lack of inclusive practices, children with disabilities are more likely to drop out of school than their peers without disability. Their learning achievements are often worse than those of other children, because schools are not designed to cater for them and teachers are often not adequately trained.

Children with albinism are particularly at risk of being excluded and even attacked. Tanzania, the country with one of the largest populations of persons with albinism in the world, assembled children and adults with albinism in special protection centres to protect them from violence and even murder, fuelled by the belief that their body parts may give rise to good luck and fortune.

“I encourage the adoption of legislative measures to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of children living with disabilities and the implementation of protective and rehabilitative programmes,” said Agnes Kabore Ouattara, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.

A number of countries in Africa introduced specific legislation, national policies or strategies to respond to the needs of children with disabilities. When it comes to implementing inclusive programmes and allocating adequate resources, however, many countries lag behind although there are examples of activities aimed at helping disabled children achieve their potential.

Rwanda is one of the countries that invested significantly in specialized education for children with disabilities. The number of children benefiting from special education increased from 632 in 2000 to around 17,000 in 2010. In Ghana, some 6,900 students went to special schools in 2009/2010. In Guinea, the NGO Nimba Centre — with support from UNICEF – organizes a three year training course for almost 90 children in small trades, ballet, knitting, shoe-repair, literacy and sewing. The Ministry of Education in Lesotho has established a Special Education Unit which supports the integration of learners with special educational needs into mainstream schools and organizes related training for teachers.

UNICEF is supporting the development of national frameworks for inclusive education in a number of African countries, which includes the training of teachers and the development of adequate learning materials and facilities. Further to this, UNICEF supports concrete interventions for children with disabilities, for instance through the distribution of text books in Braille for children with visual impairment in Zimbabwe.

Around the Day of the African Child, UNICEF offices throughout Africa, including in Benin, Guinea, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe are supporting activities and public events to raise awareness about the situation of children with disabilities.


SPEECH PROBLEM: How TAMO Stephane overcame the disability, and the advice he has for parent, teachers and individuals of children with special needs.

In an interview with ABLE TOO, Tamo Stephane talks on the disability he was having as a child with special needs.  As a young boy, he did not know that he was a child with special needs since he had just speech problem. He further talks on the difficulties he was facing in interacting with people around him. When ask on the difficulties he was facing during that period, he just knob his head and said the following:

“ as a young boy, I can say I went through hell to interact with people around me. I can remember when I was in class 4 back then. As in a mission school (catholic school Bamunka-Ndop) in the North West region of Cameroon, there was an annual come together were all the teachers and pupils of catholic schools of Ndop parish meet to thank God for the academic year. I was supposed to recite a poem which I did with the microphone but almost 80% of the invited guest did not got what I said. Ohhh It did not really mean anything to me since I was still a kind by then”

He further talks about what he went through when in college and high school. We all know that if adolescent are not treated and monitored with care, something stupid can develop in their mind especially if been mocked by mates because of something there can’t control about them self. Here is what he said

“my years in secondary school and high school was some how a night mare to me. After my first school leaving certificate I got admission into a public secondary school still in Ndop (government bilingual high school Ndop). In form one and wo things were somehow going normal because I was still a ignorant by then. In form three my speech power became worse. I was talking like a lady and the mockery I was getting from classmates was terrible. There was a time where I was not seeing school important anymore because the mockery was too much for me to bear. Due to that I will absent from school with pretext of sickness or not having lectures, and so on. All this Was just because I wanted to avoid the mockery and so on.”

He later told us about the rest of his story when he was admitted in high school and the university. This is what he said:

“After I got my GCE ordinary level, I got admitted into high school in the science section. There I was strong since I decided to put the mockery behind my back. I came across people that never knew me and my situation. So, the mockery was still intense but as a science student I decided to forget that I was a person with speech problem. Some teachers mock at me in class and out of class because of my speech but I did not care and I focused on my education because I knew what I was after (my future). After all, I got my High school diploma (GCE advance level). That same year I got admitted into the university of Buea, South West region of Cameroon. Meeting new people there was somehow catastrophe to me. Everybody I spoke to laugh at me! lecturers, neighbors, everybody. I was giving so many types of female names just to mock at me but I did not mind because I was use too. Thanks to God almighty, after my first year at the university, I consulted a specialist in speech which he advise me and gave prescription. After following the prescription for a while, I was fine.  Presently, I now talk like any other mature man, speaking in conferences and seminars without anybody laughing or complaining of my speech “

“I still came out successful because I was strong and determined. Not every child is strong and determined. So my advice to parent, teachers and persons having children with special needs at their disposal is that there should carter for them and treat them with love and care, giving them their best to make them feel free in schools and class room with their mainstream counterpart. I will advise them to be part of ABLETOO where they will be opportune to interact with a large community of trainers and professional worldwide, discussing on special needs and how to overcome them.”

From the story of Tamo Stephane, we can learn that it is good to offer special education to children with special needs. ABLE TOO calls on parents and teachers of children with special needs to make a difference. Register for free and be train online on how to handle all the various type of special needs because as we all know, every child count.

If you are a specialist in special needs, you can register as a trainer and join in the platform to train teachers and parents


Dwarfism: Types and integration process in schools and the society

In general, “dwarf” simply refers to something that is much smaller than average. Technically, people who are 4’10” and under (and shorter than the norm for their ethnic background and family history), once they’ve attained their adult height, are considered short-statured, or a “dwarf” person. If the short-stature is caused by a genetic condition where it is the major characteristic, then it is probably a form of dwarfism. There are over 200 different forms of dwarfism. For this reason it is very important that you find out as much as possible about your child’s specific type of dwarfism. This is what you will learn as a member of ABLE TOO. In general, there are two classes of dwarfism – those who are in proportion compared to average stature people and those who are not (i.e., who have “disproportionate short stature”). Proportionate dwarfism is generally related to hormone production. This accounts for their small yet proportionate stature. Other medical conditions or simply having short parents may also cause proportionate short-stature. Persons with “disproportionate dwarfism” come in all shapes and sizes, short arms and legs with an average torso, shorter torso with longer arms and legs, etc. Most of these types of dwarfism are in the family of skeletal dysplasias. In the past, people with proportionate dwarfism were referred to as “midgets”, and people with disproportionate dwarfism were referred to as “dwarfs”. Midget is generally considered to be an old-fashioned slang term and is not considered correct or preferable by most in the dwarfism community.

A baby born with dwarfism occurs in 1 in 10,000 births. A baby born with achondroplasia occurs 1 in every 25,000 births, making achondroplasia the most common form of dwarfism. It is important for physicians to distinguish between achondroplasia and other forms of dwarfism. Every form of dwarfism has some medical complications associated with it. These range from mild to significant and vary in frequency, even within a specific type of dwarfism. Only a few rare types have an effect on intelligence. Because dwarfism in general is fairly rare, parents have to educate themselves and find appropriate medical care when needed. You will need to become your child’s best advocate.
Most people, whether they have a skeletal dysplasia or are proportionately short, prefer the terms “short-stature,” or “little person,” or “dwarf”. Although it may be a little hard for you to use the term “dwarf” at first, it is an acceptable term to most of the short statured community. Some people prefer to be acknowledged as a “person with dwarfism.” The difference is using “dwarf” as descriptive (as in “person with dwarfism”) vs. a defining and declarative statement (such as “He is a dwarf.”). It is also good to think about the use of the word “normal” – as in “normal height”. “Average” is the word most commonly used and preferred. For example; I am average-height. My daughter has achondroplasia. My son is average-height. Sometimes the words we don’t say are as powerful as the words we do say.


Perhaps you may be concerned with what your child will be like as an adult. Little people do virtually everything average-statured people do. They grow up and live independently of their parents. They get married, have children, go to college, work in any number of careers. They drive cars, fly airplanes, ride horses, participate in sports. T hey can also be students, lawyers, teachers, business persons, accountants, ministers, artists, musicians, mothers, fathers, engineers, journalists, authors, nurses, doctors, and secretaries.
As children begin to understand they are little (around ages 4-5), and will always be little, a friend with dwarfism or role model can help tremendously as they integrate the information into their personality. Knowing and seeing others will help your child handle the dwarfism, and alleviate a feeling of aloneness. When you, as a parent, can look your child in the eye and say “I know you are going to have a great future. I know you are a wonderful person. Yes, things may be hard sometimes, but I know in my heart that you have a great life ahead of you”, then you will know that everything will be OK and that together you and your child will weather the rough patches and be just fine. So always feel free to check any conference on people with dwarfism. Knowing others that ae successful will help you in knowing how the future is bright for them.


A common question parents ask is whether or not their child needs to attend a “special” school. The answer is emphatically “no.” As to public vs. private, you should make that decision as you would for any other child. Each type of school has its merits. Luckily, if you are new parents, you will have quite a while before you face that decision. Whichever school you choose for your child, be prepared to educate the staff and administration about your child before school starts. This education should be done in daycare and preschools as well. Most schools are very cooperative in adapting the environment so that your child can maintain his or her independence and not be unduly physically stressed. It is a good idea to have Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) or “504 Plan” on file with your school. An IEP or 504 can help guarantee your child’s educational success and comfort and safety in the classroom. The Resource Director (or Special Education Professional – the terms vary from state to state) for your school or district will be able to tell you more. A few well-placed stools are generally all that is necessary in the early years. The extent of the adaptation is up to you and the school. Be aware that there are certain legal avenues that you can use to require adaptations in the school if the administration is less than cooperative. These include Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. There is agood chance that your school has never worked with a little person before. Keep in mind that you must be partners in your child’s education and be willing to help the school get to know your child and his or her own special needs. You are your child’s best advocate. Most children with dwarfism fall under the “orthopedically concerned” area. That designation should be able to let the school apply for funding for any particular equipment, if necessary.

Other common questions concern how a short-statured child will handle their height with classmates. Before your child starts their first day of school, plan a brief informational session with the teacher and principal so they learn how to answer questions in line with your terminology and philosophy. “The Family Corner,” a newsletter published in the 1990’s for parents by LPA members, which is now on LPA’s Website (www.lpaonline.org), has some excellent examples of letters for school staff and other kids’ parents. There is also a sample letter in the back of this booklet. Some local charitable foundations, such as the Shriners, offer a puppet show called “The Kids on the Block” with has some puppets with dwarfism. They are often available to do presentations to classes or schools. There is a videotape, “What Children Want to Know About Little People,” available through LPA designed for presentations to grade-school children. Also an LPA member may be willing to come and speak to your child’s class or school. (Check with your child first.) It will be up to you and your child how far to take the education. What happens in any given classroom is the same phenomenon that happens in the world at large. Initially, your child may be singled out and noticed for being different. After a brief adjustment period, your child should be just fine. Like any difference, once the person is better known, the difference takes second place to personality and making friends.


To address what is known about school attendance, this article summarizes the research studies from Cameroon focused on education for children with disabilities. We looked for studies focusing on numbers of children with disabilities in inclusive schools, and the perspectives or experiences of these students on Inclosive Education. There is a lack of information in estimates of numbers of children with disabilities attending school. One way to estimate school attendance of children with disabilities is to examine prevalence studies for relevant information. The MICS (Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys) study conducted by UNICEF (2008) made reference to school attendance but without detail. Parents were asked about the presence of one or more impairments in their children; however, it is important to note that these were screening questions and the children were not interviewed or assessed for the actual impairment or the experience of disability.

Inclusive education was not specifically addressed in this study. Data obtained from MICS3 indicated that 36.2% of children who screened positive for disability, between the ages of 2 and 4 participated in early education activities (such as reading books, telling stories, singing songs), and respondents tended to report lower levels of learners with identified disabilities among those participating in more early learning activities (UNICEF, 2008). Benuh and Fobuzie estimated that at least 30,000 children with disabilities of school age (age range not specified) live in the North West Region, and that less than 8,000 of these children, or less than 30%, are integrated (their term) into mainstream schools, not necessarily with inclusive programing. They estimated that fewer than 1,000 students, with predominantly hearing, visual, and mental impairments, attended special education schools in the Region (Benuh and Fobuzie, 2009). In contrast, UNICEF (2008) reported that overall 73.4% of Cameroon children who screened positive in the TQ Disability Module – a component of the MICS3 survey, attend school.

Most studies we identified focused on teachers and principals, rather than children or their families. For example, many principals interviewed in the Ngwokabuenui study (2013) had a mixed view to inclusion in schools. Although they believed learners with disabilities could profit with interactions with students without disabilities and with general education teachers, and vice versa, they supported separate education for many students with disabilities. The data indicated a negative correlation between having a child with a disability and the involvement of the parents with the schools. While this data does not infer causality, educators have reiterated the need to have collaborations with the families of children with disabilities (Tchombe, 2014).

The experience of children with disabilities in inclusive or integrated classrooms is not well studied in Cameroon. There is some limited evidence that students with disabilities have difficulty progressing to secondary school, although we found little recent information. For example, Cockburn, Wango, Benuh and Cleaver (2011) found that many people with disabilities reported no or little secondary and tertiary education, with over 70% of disabled adults reporting that they did not go past primary school. In another study of over 70 principals in public secondary and high (A level) schools in the North West Region, Ngwokabuenui (2013) found that most schools (80.8%) had very low percentages (0.0% to 5%) of students with disabilities. This study included a report that four visually impaired students who, although educated in mainstream inclusive classrooms, were not given Ordinary level braille exams (a culminating exam in secondary school) due to poor preparation by the examining body (Cameroon Ministry of Social Affairs 2012 as cited in Ngwokabuenui). Bamu (2016) also reports on the challenges of braille translation for GCE exams, and provides examples of students who feel they were disadvantaged because of possible incorrect translation. Authors noted the lack of treatment and rehabilitation options, intervention resources, assistive devices, and trained teachers (e.g. Arrah, 2013; de Clerk, 2011). Few studies examine how contexts and systems support children with mobility, mental health, or visual impairments in getting to and participating in school. For example, in most parts of Cameroon, wheelchairs are manual and rudimentary. They tend not to be useful as the roads and transportation systems are often inaccessible. Public transportation systems do not provide accommodations for people with disabilities, and few schools have dedicated school buses to transport students to school. The cost of private transportation is beyond the reach of the majority of students and their families. As such, getting to schools can be a significant problem (Nsamenang and Tchombe , 2011). These authors report that in class, students are expected to sit on benches that are not designed to accommodate impairments, and there are few to no assistive technologies for children who are unable to write.

International Knowledge Sharing Platform
ACPF (2011). Violence Against Children with Disabilities in Africa: Field Studies from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. The African Child Policy Forum: Addis Ababa. ACPF (2013). The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2013: Towards greater accountability to Africa’schildren. Addis Ababa: The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF). Anchimbe, E. A. (2006). Functional seclusion and the future of indigenous languages in Africa: the case of Cameroon. In J. Mugane (Ed.). Selected Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics (94103). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.



In Cameroon, issues of access to education for children with disabilities fall under various ministries: ministry of basic education, ministry of secondary education, ministry of higher education, ministry of employment and vocational training and the ministry of social affairs. The 1983 Law on the Protection of People with Disabilities defined the rights of persons with disabilities and instituted an identity card, known as the disability card, which entitles its holder to social assistance and other benefits. A decree No.90/1516 of November 26, 1990 laid down modalities for the implementation of the 1983 Law, and provided additional rights to persons with disabilities, including the right to education and professional training, preferential treatment in public transportation, taxes, and access to public buildings. Article 1 of this decree stated that the education of children with disabilities should be provided by the national government (Technical Committee 1990; Tukov, 2008).

The Preamble of the Constitution (Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, Preamble1) 1996 made primary education compulsory and guaranteed all children’s right to education, which implicitly includes children with disabilities. The Constitution assigned the state responsibility for the organization and supervision of education at all levels. The 1998 Education Framework Act, No 98/004, guarantees equal access to education without discrimination. Following a 2000 presidential decree, public primary education is tuition-free

In addition to the above legislation, Law 004/022, passed in 2004, regulates the provision of private education. This legislation is relevant to the current review because there are many private education schools that cater to children with disabilities. In 2004, the Cameroonian government elaborated a sector wide approach document on education as a road map to achieve universal primary education by 2015 (Ministries of Education and Finance 2004). This roadmap did address access to education for children with disabilities, as the country signed the Salamanca Declaration of 1994, which encourages governments to stipulate that children of all abilities be enrolled in regular school (Ndame, 2012; Tukov, 2008; World Vision 2007).  The Ministry of Social Affairs has the mandate to provide prevention, assistance and protection to socially vulnerable persons, including persons with disabilities (Cameroon, 2011). In that respect, it collaborates with the Ministries of Basic Education and Secondary Education (Ngwokabuenui, 2013; Shey, 2014).

In 1996, a Prime Ministerial decree created the National Committee for Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Persons with Disabilities (Decree No 96 / 379, 1996), with the mission of coordinating governmental and civil society action to improve the wellbeing of people with disabilities (Pougam, 2000). In 2010, Law No 2010/002 on the protection and advancement of people with disabilities was passed. Section 3 of Chapter 3 addresses special education for people with disabilities. This law states that children and adolescents with disabilities shall have access to education and states that children with disabilities and children of parents with disabilities should be exempted from school fees for government-run school programs (Law N.2010/002 Chapter 4.I). As of January 2015, this law lacked an implementation decree by the president. The implementation decree would allow the measures in the law to be put into practice and funded under the national government’s budget.  Due to family and cultural values, discrimination, lack of resources and other factors, many children with disabilities have not had access to education in the past (Hashemi, 2006). There appears to be no system to enforce law No 2010/002, and few resources to support inclusive education although there are signs of improvement in awareness and implementation of the current laws (Mbibeh, 2013; Ngwokabuenui, 2013). For example, legal and educational avenues are opening to allow increased emphasis on training teachers in IE (ITCIG-SENTTI, 2012; Tchombe et al, 2014). In summary, there are laws that aim to guarantee education for children with disabilities in Cameroon. However, these laws are not implemented, in part due to the delay in the implementation decree, and lack of monitoring and evaluation systems that hold organizations accountable.


International KNOWLEDGE sharing platform
ACPF (2011). Violence Against Children with Disabilities in Africa: Field Studies from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. The African Child Policy Forum: Addis Ababa. ACPF (2013). The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2013: Towards greater accountability to Africa’schildren. Addis Ababa: The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF). Anchimbe, E. A. (2006). Functional seclusion and the future of indigenous languages in Africa: the case of Cameroon. In J. Mugane (Ed.). Selected Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics (94103). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.



Declaration on the Right of Mentally Retarded Persons: stipulate that a person with an interlectual imparedment is accorded the same right as any other person.
Declaration on the Right of Disabled Persons: proclaim the equal civil and political right of all disabled persons, and sets standards for equal treatment and access to service
International Year of Disabled Persons (UNITED NATIONS)
World Program of Action Concerning Disabled Persons
International Decades for Disabled Persons (United Nations)
World Declaration on Education for All and Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs : adopted at the worlds conference on education for all, in jomtien Thailand in march 1990, promotes “equal access to education for all category of disabled persons as an intergral part of the education system”
United Nations Standard Role on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities: provide detailed guidelines for policy development and implimentatyion
Asian and Pacific Decades of Disabled Persons
Salamanca Statement and the Framework for Action for Special Needs Education. Adopted by the unesco world confrernce on special needs education: access and quality, Salamanca, spain 7-10 june 1994. Adopted by 92 governments and over 25 international organisation , putting the principle of inclusion on the education agenda worldwide .

World Summit for Social Development, Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action calls upon governments to ensure equal educational opportunities at all levels for disabled children, youth and adults, in integrated settings
Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1998/31
World Education Forum, Dakar, Statement and Framework for Action established attainable and affordable educational goals, including the goals of ensuring that by 2015 all children of primary age have better access to complete free schooling of an acceptable quality, that gender disparities in schooling are eliminated and that all aspects of educational quality are improved
Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2000/51
African Decades of Disabled Persons
UN General Assembly resolution on the rights of the Child, following the World Summit on Children, calls upon States to take all necessary measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by children with disabilities, and to develop and enforce legislation against their discrimination, so as to ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community, including effective access to educational and health services
’A World Fit for Children’, outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children makes clear reference to the rights of children with disabilities, especially regarding protection from discrimination, full access to services, and access to proper treatment and care, as well as the promotion of family-based care and appropriate support systems for families
Second Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons

Arab Decade of Disabled Persons

UN Convention on the rights of Persons with disabilities

inter-american decade of disabled Persons



The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the first binding instrument in international law to deal comprehensively with the human rights of children, and is notable for the inclusion of an article specifically concerned with the rights of children with disabilities. The implementation of the CRC is monitored and promoted at the international level by the Committee on the Rights of the Child:

The CRC identifies four general principles that provide the foundation for the realization of all other rights:

  • non-discrimination;
  • the best interests of the child;
  • survival and development;
  • respect for the views of the child.

The principle of non-discrimination is reflected in article 2 of the CRC that expressly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability:

States parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child
…without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s…disability…or other status.

This principle is motivated by the recognition that segregated or separate facilities for education, health care, recreation and all other aspects of human life on the basis of disability can create and consolidate exclusion. These factors often perpetuate the negative perception of a child with a disability as the CRC, including freedom from discrimination, respect for the dignity of the child and the cultivation of her or his potential to assume a responsible and independent life in society. They may be seen to be particularly relevant to the situation of children with disabilities in the following provisions:

  • The child’s right not to be separated from his or her family (article 9).
  • Services and assistance to support parents in their child-rearing responsibilities (article 18).
  • Protection from injury, neglect and any form of violence (article 19).
  • Protection of children deprived of a family environment (article 20).
  • Refugee children (article 22).
  • Periodic review of treatment (article 25).
  • The child’s right to free and compulsory primary education, to secondary and vocational education and the prevention of drop out (article 28).
  • Children belonging to minorities and indigenous people (article 30).
  • Protection from work that interferes with education (article 32).
  • Protection from abuse (article 33).
  • Protection from sexual exploitation (article 34).
  • Protection from torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and from deprivation of liberty (article 37).
  • Right to rehabilitative care for victims of neglect, exploitation, abuse or degrading treatment (article 39).

The implementation of the CRC is monitored at the international level by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which oversees the progress made by States parties in promoting the realization of children’s human rights. Reiterating its concern with the rights of children with disabilities, in 2006 the Committee issued a General Comment on this particular topic (see chapter 5 below for discussion of the Committee’s comments and policy recommendations concerning children with disabilities).



In an interview with the New York Times, between Stephen Hawking and journalist Claudia Dreifus, she asked Stephen Hawking, “Given all you’ve experienced, what words would you offer someone who has been diagnosed with a serious illness, perhaps A.L.S.(  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)?”

Hawking, answered: “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”

Hawking’s progressive and positive attitude toward disability here exemplifies everything ABLE TOO works toward every day: A world in which people with disabilities can achieve a better education the special way without discrimination and barriers; the notion that disability isn’t a taboo or curse or a pass to disappointment, rather it’s a natural part of life.

Lets elaborate on those his words of wisdom:


  1. Concentrate on the things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well
  2. : So many disabled persons don’t really take the time to see on what there can do. Instead, there spend time on the things there can’t do, while regretting or blaming others for their misfortune. But every one is unique and with a particular talent capable of contributing in the society. Education is for everybody irrespective of abilities. Hawking is a clear example to follow. We belief that one of you in the ABLE TOO community will bring a positive impact to the word. So when you concentrate on the things you can do, your disabilities will instead attract important persons towards you like it did to Hawking

  3. Don’t regret the things (your disability) interferes with:  
  4. Hawking was diagnosed with A.L.S. in 1963 at the age of 21. Following his diagnosis he resisted using a wheelchair. Becoming a person with a disability later in life (as opposed to being born with a disability) was hard on him. However, he eventually let go of regret and focused on what he was good at and what he was put on this earth to do. He embraced assistive technology to continue his ground-breaking work, and had a hand in developing and advancing the programs he used. Later he became a vocal disability advocate, taking part in the Charter for the Third Millennium on Disability, which stated: “In the 21st century, we must insist on the same human and civil rights for people with disabilities as for everyone else.”

  5. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically:
  6. Disabilities is also an experience of been human. Despite our abilities, all have the capacity to reach for our wildest dreams, live life to the fullest and make the greatest impact positively to the world – not despite perceived limitations, sometimes because of them. It is what makes us unique, genuine and complete. Hawking calls us all to not be a barrier to ourselves while navigating difficulties in life. Do not stifle the dreams you were born to realize.

For Hawking, the limits of what was possible were vast. He made us consider not just the wonder of the stars, but the wonder of our existence. We remember him as one of the great minds of our time, but I hope we also remember him as an important figure in the timeline of disability history.

I’ll leave you with another wonderful quote from this same interview: “Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. I have travelled the world, from the Antarctic to zero gravity. Perhaps one day I will go into space”.




More than 500,000 Cameroonians younger than 18 have learning disabilities. Although the Ministry of Basic Education has planned to train 300 teachers as part of the implementation of the Cameroon Politic of inclusive education, the teacher to students with special needs ratio of 1/1600 remains very low as compared to the teacher to mainstream students’ ration that is 1/44.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),the cause of behavioral issues


ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

From the above definitions,

  • Inattentionmeans a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized; and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
  • Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate; or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
  • Impulsivitymeans a person makes hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may have high potential for harm; or a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences


Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity.Most children have the combined type of ADHD.

In preschool, the most common ADHD symptom is hyperactivity.

It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity and impulsivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviors:

  • are more severe
  • occur more often
  • interfere with or reduce the quality of how they functions socially, at school, or in a job


People with symptoms of inattention may often:

  • Overlook or miss details, make careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities
  • Have problems sustaining attention in tasks or play, including conversations, lectures, or lengthy reading
  • Not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • Not follow through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace or start tasks but quickly lose focus and get easily sidetracked
  • Have problems organizing tasks and activities, such as what to do in sequence, keeping materials and belongings in order, having messy work and poor time management, and failing to meet deadlines
  • Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework, or for teens and older adults, preparing reports, completing forms or reviewing lengthy papers
  • Lose things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school supplies, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and cell phones
  • Be easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli
  • Be forgetful in daily activities, such as chores, errands, returning calls, and keeping appointments


People with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:

  • Fidget and squirm in their seats
  • Leave their seats in situations when staying seated is expected, such as in the classroom or in the office
  • Run or dash around or climb in situations where it is inappropriate or, in teens and adults, often feel restless
  • Be unable to play or engage in hobbies quietly
  • Be constantly in motion or “on the go,” or act as if “driven by a motor”
  • Talk nonstop
  • Blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish other people’s sentences, or speak without waiting for a turn in conversation
  • Have trouble waiting his or her turn
  • Interrupt or intrude on others, for example in conversations, games, or activities

Diagnosis of ADHD requires a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed clinician, such as a pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist with expertise in ADHD. For a person to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be chronic or long-lasting, impair the person’s functioning, and cause the person to fall behind normal development for his or her age. The doctor will also ensure that any ADHD symptoms are not due to another medical or psychiatric condition. Most children with ADHD receive a diagnosis during the elementary school years. For an adolescent or adult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms need to have been present prior to age 12.

ADHD symptoms can appear as early as between the ages of 3 and 6 and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD can be mistaken for emotional or disciplinary problems or missed entirely in quiet, well-behaved children, leading to a delay in diagnosis. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD may have a history of poor academic performance, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships.

ADHD symptoms can change over time as a person ages. In young children with ADHD, hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most predominant symptom. As a child reaches elementary school, the symptom of inattention may become more prominent and cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to lessen and may show more often as feelings of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity may remain. Many adolescents with ADHD also struggle with relationships and antisocial behaviors. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood.

Risk Factors

Scientists are not sure what causes ADHD. Like many other illnesses, a number of factors can contribute to ADHD, such as:

  • Genes
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental toxins, such as high levels of lead, at a young age
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain injuries

ADHD is more common in males than females, and females with ADHD are more likely to have problems primarily with inattention. Other conditions, such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, depression, and substance abuse, are common in people with ADHD.



Adding psychotherapy to treat ADHD can help patients and their families to better cope with everyday problems.

Behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help a person change his or her behavior. It might involve practical assistance, such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events. Behavioral therapy also teaches a person how to:

  • monitor his or her own behavior
  • give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way, such as controlling anger or thinking before acting

Parents, teachers, and family members also can give positive or negative feedback for certain behaviors and help establish clear rules, chore lists, and other structured routines to help a person control his or her behavior. Therapists may also teach children social skills, such as how to wait their turn, share toys, ask for help, or respond to teasing. Learning to read facial expressions and the tone of voice in others, and how to respond appropriately can also be part of social skills training.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can also teach a person mindfulness techniques, or meditation. A person learns how to be aware and accepting of one’s own thoughts and feelings to improve focus and concentration. The therapist also encourages the person with ADHD to adjust to the life changes that come with treatment, such as thinking before acting, or resisting the urge to take unnecessary risks.

Family and marital therapy can help family members and spouses find better ways to handle disruptive behaviors, to encourage behavior changes, and improve interactions with the patient.

Education and training

Children and adults with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents, families, and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed. For school-age children, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family before a child is diagnosed. Parents and children may need special help to overcome negative feelings. Mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it affects a family. They also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.

Parenting skills training (behavioral parent management training) teaches parents the skills they need to encourage and reward positive behaviors in their children. It helps parents learn how to use a system of rewards and consequences to change a child’s behavior. Parents are taught to give immediate and positive feedback for behaviors they want to encourage, and ignore or redirect behaviors that they want to discourage. They may also learn to structure situations in ways that support desired behavior.

Stress management techniques can benefit parents of children with ADHD by increasing their ability to deal with frustration so that they can respond calmly to their child’s behavior.

Support groups can help parents and families connect with others who have similar problems and concerns. Groups often meet regularly to share frustrations and successes, to exchange information about recommended specialists and strategies, and to talk with experts.

Tips to Help Kids and Adults with ADHD Stay Organized


For kids:

Parents and teachers can help kids with ADHD stay organized and follow directions with tools such as:

  • Keeping a routine and a schedule. Keep the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime. Include times for homework, outdoor play, and indoor activities. Keep the schedule on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board in the kitchen. Write changes on the schedule as far in advance as possible.
  • Organizing everyday items. Have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and toys.
  • Using homework and notebook organizers. Use organizers for school material and supplies. Stress to your child the importance of writing down assignments and bringing home the necessary books.
  • Being clear and consistent. Children with ADHD need consistent rules they can understand and follow.
  • Giving praise or rewards when rules are followed. Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism. Look for good behavior, and praise it.

For Adults:

A professional counselor or therapist can help an adult with ADHD learn how to organize his or her life with tools such as:

  • Keeping routines
  • Making lists for different tasks and activities
  • Using a calendar for scheduling events
  • Using reminder notes
  • Assigning a special place for keys, bills, and paperwork
  • Breaking down large tasks into more manageable, smaller steps so that completing each part of the task provides a sense of accomplishment.

Always check the blog post for new articles on how to make that child with special needs feel integrated into the community.