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Children and youth with special needs

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Hanvey, Louise
Publication Date: 
20 Nov 2001

Available in print for order (see SOURCE) and online for download.

Excerpt from executive summary :

This report provides two important new pieces of research to our understanding of children with special needs. The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) provides a wealth of information regarding how children and youth are faring in Canada. To date, there has not been an examination of children with special needs within that database. This report provides that overview. In addition, this report gathers the perceptions and experiences of service providers and policy makers who are concerned with children and youth with special needs. Through a survey of community-based agencies across Canada, along with provincial and national organizations, the adequacy of the service sector is explored.

…According to this survey the needs of children and youth with special needs are not being served adequately. There are many barriers to service for these children and their families. Some of them are characteristics of the services themselves, such as inadequate funding; others involve problems facing families, such as inadequate financial resources and an inability to provide support. Still other barriers are community-wide, such as attitudes of the public and some professionals. There are physical attributes that still bar children from services, such as the physical inaccessibility of facilities and the lack of transportation.

In conclusion, this report highlights the fact that there are a substantial number of Canadian children who live with special needs. We have seen that these children face a number of challenges within the social and economic context of their lives. In addition, they run the risk of being socially excluded from a number of opportunities that the majority of Canadian children take for granted. And, this is compounded by the fact that children and youth with special needs are not being served adequately and that there are many barriers to services for these children and their families. While Article 23 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes that children with disabilities have the right to enjoy full and decent lives - this research indicates that this opportunity is not fully enjoyed by all children with special needs.