Early childhood is a key stage in development for all children, but it can be particularly critical for children with disabilities. Four year-old Nourou was born with cerebral palsy in a village in Burkina Faso. He did not learn to walk or communicate until he and his mother started receiving support from a community rehabilitation worker — a hero who played a critical role in helping Nourou meet his potential.
Early childhood development services can reduce, and in some cases, eliminate the disabling effects of a condition. Support to stimulate Nourou’s learning, like playing and singing, could easily be given by a community pre-school in Nourou’s village. However, those running such programmes too often do not know how to best serve children like Nourou — disability curricula is usually not part of their training.
After receiving education and support, Nourou’s mother now believes in her son’s ability to learn and intends to enroll Nourou in their local primary school. Investing in early childhood development for children with disabilities is a sound investment.
Nourou’s is just one story, but statistics show that children with disabilities are more likely to experience violence and are less likely to attend school than their non-disabled peers. By ensuring that early childhood development services — like nurseries and pre-schools — are inclusive, governments can help to end the endemic social exclusion and poverty faced by children with disabilities.
Big aid countries can help to achieve this by ensuring the funding they give to education overseas, prioritizes kids with disabilities. Sign the petition: call on governments to help all children get a good start in life.