What works to eliminate stigma as a barrier to educational outcomes for children and youth with disabilities?
To improve educational outcomes for children and youth with disabilities, barriers to inclusion need to be addressed. Experiences of stigma represent a significant and common barrier facing children and youth with disabilities and this may vary by type and severity of disability. Stigmatisation is a societal process found within communities at individual, interpersonal, organisational, social and institutional levels. Information on approaches to, as well as impact of interventions that address stigma in the context of children and youth with disability in LMIC is generally lacking. The widespread detrimental consequences of stigma related to disability highlight the need for interventions aimed at reducing this stigma. This brief aims to summarise the stigma-reduction interventions (that either reduce or prevent stigma) relating to disability that improve educational outcomes for children and youth with disabilities in LMIC.
- Active involvement of children and youth with disabilities and caregivers in the development, delivery and testing of stigma-reduction interventions
- Multi-level and evidence-based stigma-reduction interventions in LMIC addressing a wide variety of stigma need to be developed.
- Stronger evaluation of promising multi-level stigma-reduction interventions adapted towards children and youth with disabilities in LMICs.
- Educators to be trained in the detection and delivery of appropriate stigma-reduction intervention strategies for children and youth with disabilities.
How do we ensure that people with disabilities are not bullied at places of work?
Besides being underrepresented in the workforce globally, people with disabilities are more at risk of bullying, harassment and discrimination in places of work than people without disabilities. Bullying of people with disabilities at places of work is associated with negative outcomes that include emotional distress, low job productivity and satisfaction, and adverse economic consequences, especially in the worst-case scenario of dismissal from work due to disability. There is evidence that primary preventive interventions targeting employers/employees through promotional activities can mitigate the incidence of bullying against people with disabilities in occupational settings. This evidence brief summarizes what is known about the impact and interventions for preventing bullying of people with disabilities in places of work.
- Livelihood & Social Protection
- Strengthen policies against the culture of intolerance against bullying of people with disabilities at places of work.
- Provide a safe working environment which allows reasonable remediation when bullying is first identified
- Conduct risk assessments to identify potential predictors for bullying of people with disabilities in workplaces
- Target employers, employees, and other individuals who might perpetrate bullying through promotional activities in occupational settings
How can we address intersectional stigma for people living with disability and chronic infectious diseases?
People living with disability are at a higher risk of contracting chronic infectious diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) compared to those without disabilities. Furthermore, those with HIV are at higher risk of developing a disability as a result of their condition. Infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), etc can, like disability, be very stigmatising. Stigma is founded in inequality, power, and systems of domination. It can be intra-personal, such as self-stigmatisation, interpersonal, such as social stigma, and structural, such as institutional stigma. Intersectionality looks at the way different forms of discrimination combine in the experiences of marginalised groups, such as people with disabilities living with chronic infectious diseases. Consequently, this group can face additional societal barriers in their day-to-day lives compared to people with disabilities that don’t have chronic infectious diseases or those that have a chronic infectious disease without a disability. This evidence brief summarises how intersectional stigma for this particularly vulnerable group can be addressed.
- Inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in the development and implementation of national strategies for infectious diseases.
- Establish peer-led or peer-supported outreach for people with disabilities focused on chronic infectious diseases.
- Provide health workers in infectious disease control services with disability training.
- Offer nutritional and social grant support to people with disabilities and/or chronic infectious diseases.
How to eliminate stigma as a barrier to accessing mental health services for people with mental illness in LMICs
People with mental illness have higher disability and mortality rates globally as a result of access gaps between available mental health providers and potential users (WHO, 2013). Between 76% and 85% of people with severe mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) do not have access to mental health care services (WHO, 2013). Stigma is a major barrier to mental health service delivery and can impact care-seeking behaviours. Stigma refers to a set of beliefs and attitudes about people with mental disorders which can create an environment of discrimination on a public, personal and institutional level (e.g. healthcare systems). The fear of discrimination can delay access to care as well as influence poor adherence to treatment and follow-up. This brief highlights effective strategies for eliminating stigma as a barrier to accessing health services for people with mental illness in LMICs.
- Develop mental health stigma reduction strategies for primary healthcare settings and providers.
- Involve people with mental health conditions and family members in mental illness stigma reduction programs.
- Develop and enforce laws and policies that promote and protect the rights of people with mental illness.
- Mental health stigma reduction strategies should be culturally appropriate and contextually feasible.
- Generate more research on short- and long-term interventions that target mental health stigma at multiple levels
How can we improve portrayals of people with disabilities in the media?
Images and stories in the media have the potential to influence society’s attitudes, norms and behaviours towards people with disabilities. Even events such as parasports and the Paralympics provide an opportunity to challenge society’s expected norms and perceptions regarding the capabilities of people with disabilities. Although there has been some improvement in the media portrayal of people with disabilities, these portrayals remain scarce and entrenched in stereotypes, social stigma and misrepresentations. People with disabilities receive far less coverage in all types of media and when they do receive coverage, it often reinforces negative stereotypes or doesn’t show the diversity of people with disabilities. This evidence brief aims to look at the core challenges faced with regards to media portrayals of people with disabilities focusing on coverage, representation, diversity in both sport and entertainment media.
- Increase disability representation within the media industry
- Increase training and education for media professionals on disability coverage and representation
- Avoid homogeneity and the “hierarchy of disability” in media portrayals and coverage.
- Educate and inform commentators and the public on parasports and increase positive coverage
Bullying and Students With Disabilities: A Systematic Literature Review of Intervention Studies
- Peer-reviewed article
Bullying of children and adolescents with autism spectrum conditions: a ‘state of the field’ review
- Peer-reviewed article
Students’ Attitudes towards Peers with Disabilities: A review of the literature
- Peer-reviewed article
Cyber-Victimization of People With Chronic Conditions and Disabilities: A Systematic Review of Scope and Impact
- Peer-reviewed article