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Personalization, Special Needs Education & People with Disabilities

Over 50% of teachers and 36% of school leaders believe that, not all the student can learn, due to their familial background or educational experience. Simultaneously, only 35% of school leaders and 15% teachers believe that schools can meaningfully impact students when students’ home situations are challenging.


These statistics, combined to the fact, that almost all people (see the picture) have some disabilities and / or special education needs or need for personalization in learning due to variety of different factors, is depressing. It has been proven, through research and practice, that everyone has potential to learn, acquire new skills and develop socioemotionally, when supported based on their needs. More than one billion people, or 15% of the global population, of which 690 million in Asia-Pacific, live with disabilities, with globally up to 190 million people (3.8%) aged 15 years and older having significant difficulties in functioning, often requiring healthcare services.

Actions to improve the situation of learners with disabilities and activities concerning special and disability inclusive education in Asia-Pacific are not encouraging:

“Comprehensive identification and screening systems that are aligned with the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) Model are mostly missing in the region. In some countries, there is no official data on persons with disabilities. Most countries do not have standardized definitions of disability and ministries do not work collaboratively to develop a solid identification and data collection process. Out-dated medical approaches lead to unreliable data on disability and lack of targeted planning of interventions and disability services. This serves as a barrier for effective and responsive policy development.”

In almost all the cases, people with disabilities are worse off: lower school attendance, higher chance to be left out of school, lower school completion rates, lowers years of schooling, and lower literacy rates. Disability is an intersectional issue: situation is even worse with disabled girls, lower socio-economic status and can be made worse through digitalization. These are few examples of quantitative data, but do not offer opportunity to evaluate qualitative differences in education offered to individuals with disabilities.

Improving this situation, like many other issues in education, would require collaboration across different ministries and organizations: “A mapping of inclusive education provision in 18 European countries, mostly with reference to students with disabilities, showed education ministries responsible for teachers, school administration and learning materials; health ministries for screening, assessment and rehabilitation services; and social protection ministries for financial aid (GEM)”,

Under here, you can find the resources to support persons with disabilities and learn about special needs education. All the practical content and frameworks for personalization are warmly welcomed, please share them with us! We will showcase them either on this page or at the Educator Toolbox (link).

Falling short: Not including children with intellectual disabilities in school hurts all children

How do we make workplaces work for autistic people?

Tajikistan: Getting ready to welcome children with disabilities to school

Emergencies Remind Us That Remedial Learning Is Key For Low Performing Students

Students With Disabilities Need Inclusive Buildings. We Can Learn From What’s Already Working

10 Students With A Disability Talk About The Difficulties Of Accessing Inclusive Education In The USA

A Classroom Challenge: Special Schools Or Inclusion For Children With Disabilities

Who Will Pay To Educate Profoundly Disabled Children?

Delhi: For 5,600 Private School Seats For Disabled, Education Dept Receives 44 Applications

Be More Inclusive For Special Need Kids, Delhi School Told

To Fulfill The Promises Of The 2030 Agenda, We Need To Accelerate Our Action, Including On Disability Issues, High Commissioner Bachelet Urges At The Opening Of The Committee On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities In Geneva

Lego Offers Instructions For Visually Impaired Builders

As The School Year Begins, Please Talk To Your Kids About Disabilities

Why Children With Disabilities Need Equal Opportunities To Play Sports

Helping All Learners Achieve Success On Their Own Terms

UNICEF Executive Director Remarks At The Global Disability Summit, As Prepared

Equitable Education Is About Inclusion

Using Technology To Remove Barriers To Learning For People Living With Disabilities

UNESCO New Delhi launches 2019 State of the Education Report for India focusing on Children with Disabilities

Online Education Is Necessary For Disability Equality

Key Resources

Responding to educational needs of learners with disabilities in Emergencies -online teacher training course

Resources on Education for people with disabilities

Criteria for the World Banks Disability Inclusive Investment Project Financing (IPF) in Education

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the education of persons with disabilities: challenges and opportunities of distance education: policy brief

Handbook on Measuring Equity in Education

Disability questionnaires

Inclusive education for persons with disabilities –Are we making progress?

Mapping of disability-inclusive education practices in South Asia

Levels of Education

Vocational Education
Secondary Education
Primary Education
Non-Formal Education
Higher Education
Early Childhood and Pre-Primary Education