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Statement on COVID-19 and Education for children with disabilities

The GLAD Inclusive Education Working Group (IEWG) has issued a joint statement to caution against growing inequity in education due to the COVID19 pandemic especially affecting persons with disabilities. Read the full statement by clicking on the button below

COVID19 and Education for children with disabilities

Covid19 and Education Statement

Literature, tools and resources:



Learning (at home / at a distance) ideas

  • Applying Universal Design for Learning in Online Courses: Pedagogical and Practical Considerations 
  • An online toolkit for designing accessible courses
  • The National Institute for Early Education Research provides useful links on a range of topics related to early childhood development, parent support, child protection and social protection for families during the response (some texts also in Spanish):
  • Learning at Home during COVID-19 (for educators): These resources will help students with dyslexia, vision impairment, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers to continue learning during school closures. 
  • Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) COVID-19 Resources on Inclusion (available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic)
  • Council for Exceptional Children: Teaching Special Education Online During COVID-19 Autism Focused Intervention Resources &Modules (AFIRM): Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times These strategies are intended to be a menu or toolkit of ideas that may be helpful - caregivers may take one idea at a time and find a way to make it work for their child(ren) with autism and their family. Caregivers may want to start with a strategy they have used in the past, or perhaps find a tool to address the issue that is creating the most immediate stress. Consider involving the individual with autism in the decision-making process about what tools would be most helpful.
  • Free developmental play webinar on working with differently abled children focused on stress, play and mental health
  • UNESCO online materials available in country specific contexts
  • The “Talking is Teaching” indoor toolkit. These resources provide ways to talk, read, sing, and play through the day—with things that may be available indoors. There is a choice of idea according to a child’s age and interests (available in English and Spanish)
  • Education in Emergencies Guidance and Tools Survey Results and Analysis: Published by IASC Global Education Cluster Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • The international Network Parenting for lifelong health developed materials for the use of families during the Covid-19 crisis (available in various languages)
  • When schools are closed: Daily Free Learning Workbooks for Teachers to Share with Parents while Schools are Closed: All ages


Mental Health, child protection, gender and gender based violence risks during COVID-19

  • Because the pandemic causes stress in people’s lives the WHO has published useful considerations, including considerations for carers of children.
  • Women and girls with disabilities have increased vulnerability during times of crisis. Women and girls with and without disabilities who experience mental, physical or sexual abuse in ordinary circumstances are at heightened risk in times of crisis and particularly under social distancing regulations in place in many countries. 
  • The UNHCR has published a guidance note with recommendations aimed at reducing risks and ensuring access to life-saving GBV services during the pandemic
  • Child protection risks increase during infectious disease outbreaks. This applies to children who are with their families and children in care outside of their family home. The Better Care Network, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and UNICEF have published a document containing immediate response measures during the pandemic. Useful information both for children with and without disabilities who live at home and children in care are included.
  • The COVID-19 response runs risks of being both gender and disability exclusionary. UNESCO’s summary of its webinar on the gender dimensions of school closures provides useful insights, including from people in low- and middle-income countries 
  • The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action’s COVID-19 Technical Note on the protection of children during the Coronavirus Pandemic (available in various languages)


Disability support services during school closures

  • Many children with disabilities receive disability support services through schools. Maintaining access to these support services when schools are no longer in session requires particular efforts. In addition, home-based services provided by disability services are at risk of closing down during the pandemic. In many low and middle-income countries, home-based support services are provided through community- based rehabilitation/community based inclusive development programs or through disability outreach services. These programs operate with cadres of front-line workers. These services ensure both continuity of support and provide a reassuring touch point for information and referral to other support services people may need during the crisis. CBM has developed a matrix and guidance note for these front line programs.
  • UNICEF has an education toolkit for UNICEF Country Offices that includes resources developed by HQ as well as Regional & Country Offices. There are some resources that address inclusive education broadly. The resources are aimed at supporting four stages of the COVID-19 response, 1) response planning, 2) continued learning, 3) school re-opening and 4) short to long term recovery planning. We also have a public site that includes resources to support a disability-inclusive COVID response. 
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World Bank

The World Bank has created a web page where they are collecting information on Education and COVID19
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The International Disability and Development Consortium has created a repository on information on Education and COVID19
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The Global Partnership on Education has created a web page where they are collecting information on Education and COVID19
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The International Disability Alliance has created a set of recommendations for the COVID-19 response. These include recommendations related to education.


Read all the resources on COVID-19 response and the rights of persons with disabilities, click the button below!

Inclusive Education Initiative

A LinkedIn group has been set up in the frame of the Inclusive Education Initiative, a Multi-Donor Trust Fund to invest in catalytic technical expertise and knowledge resources that support countries in making education more inclusive with a focus on children across the spectrum of disabilities (including physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities), with a view to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.