228487 Children with Special Health Care Needs: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 9:24 AM - 9:42 AM

Sheryl W. Abrahams, MPH , Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Survey data from low- and middle-income countries indicate that over 20% of children aged 2-9 have or are at risk for a disability. As new research has emerged to support the links between childhood disability, lack of access to schooling, and subsequent adult poverty in the developing world, addressing the needs of disabled children has become a global health and development priority. Meeting disabled children's needs requires knowledge of the medical, physical, social and environmental factors whose interplay determines disability status, as well as an understanding of the culturally-based belief systems through which these factors are conceptualized and addressed by families and societies. This presentation gives an overview of the prevalence and correlates of child disability in low and middle-income countries. It then explores the evolution of prevailing concepts of disability in the US, and draws comparisons with definitions employed by other societies. Next, it presents cultural frameworks that determine social beliefs about child disability across various cultures, including notions of causality, expected roles in society, and notions of “personhood” . Finally, examples are used to discuss implications for service provision and use both globally and for diverse populations within the US.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe factors commonly associated with child disability in low and middle-income countries 2. Develop frameworks for understanding cross-cultural perceptions of child disability 3. Identify implications of various cultural frameworks for service provision to and service use by disabled children and their families worldwide

Keywords: Children With Special Needs, International MCH

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience in maternal and child health programming and international development work, and developed this content as a presentation to graduate-level public health courses.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.