Guide_dog_user_on_the_tube_Euston_Square_16_November_2012_Commons_CCOUnrestrictedDespite being one of the world’s largest minority populations, children and adults with disabilities still face serious barriers in all aspects of life. People with disabilities in high- and low-income countries alike experience significant challenges in accessing meaningful and competitive employment; children frequently do not have access to education at all, let alone a quality education; the accessibility of the physical environment is too often limited; opportunities for full participation in social and political life are curtailed. Despite the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the cumulative efforts of the disability rights movement, there is still a great deal of work to be done globally to ensure equal rights for people with disabilities.

Through systematic analyses of constitutions, legislation, and other sources, the WORLD Policy Analysis Center has developed globally comparative, quantitatively analyzable data on many areas critical to adults and children with disabilities. Our data examine whether equal rights for people with special needs have been recognized constitutionally, whether education is inclusive, and whether countries provide direct assistance to families to help with the additional financial costs of raising children with disabilities.

Topics covered include:

Constitutional Rights

  • Guarantees of equal civil and political rights for people with disabilities*
  • Positive action to encourage the full exercise of rights for people with disabilities*


  • Level of integration of children with special needs in the public school system*

Income Support

*Note: Data for starred sub-topics is forthcoming.

In order to ensure that all people have an equal chance at a full life, the barriers faced by children and adults with special needs in society need to be addressed. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (2006) clearly delineates the equal rights of children and adults with disabilities. It calls on nations to pass legislation needed for ensuring equity and nondiscrimination across all areas of life. This builds on previous conventions including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989) which requires in Article 23 that “1. States Parties recognize that a mentally or physically disabled child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.”