At this year’s United Nations Conference of State Parties on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the ICP arranged for statements about communication disability to be made for the record.
The following statement was made by Abed Ahmed, who is both a teacher and person with lived experience of communication disability. Abed has a stammer.
Children with communication disability, beyond the challenges they face on a daily basis to simply communicate and engage, struggle to engage in education.
The evidence base is clear on this matter – in the UK alone up to 10% of all children have long term communication needs.
And because of the pandemic, the difficulties these children face have only been exacerbated (pause)
To achieve and attain positive educational outcomes, these children need additional support. Sometimes that means teachers providing support to the students directly, sometimes that means speech and language therapist support within the classroom and sometimes that means both.
A holistic approach needs to be taken to fully ensure that education is inclusive for children with communication disability and should be the case of all education systems to ensure that they are fully inclusive (pause)
As a result of the pandemic (pause), education has had to be delivered by remote mediums of communication. But of course with that came issues of access, particularly from students that come from lower socioeconomic status.
The relationship between poverty and communication disability is well established (pause)
Some of those children have not had access to laptops and an internet connection. While some who have had access have faced the challenge of utilising these devices due to a lack of communication skills.
This digital poverty has meant that our education systems have not been inclusive (pause)
All efforts to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the sustainable development goals must ensure appropriate support is available in the class rooms for these children and issues of digital poverty are issues of the past.”