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disability research information program

Provides centralized access to our information about disability research. DRIP was established by the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD), with financial support from Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

Children and Youth with Special Needs

written by Louise Hanvey, November 2001

The Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD) marked National Child Day with the release of a report highlighting the difficulties and barriers facing children with special needs – problems which should be diminishing, given the Prime Minister’s public commitment to Canada’s children in the last Speech from the Throne, but which in fact remain daunting.

Children with special needs are those with physical disabilities, chronic conditions, intellectual disabilities, emotional problems, activity limitations or learning disabilities. Approximately 21% of children aged 6 to 11 have special needs. The report Children and Youth with Special Needs reveals that children with special needs run the risk of being socially excluded from many opportunities that the majority of Canadian children take for granted.

"While Article 23 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children with disabilities have the right to enjoy full and decent lives, our report shows that in Canada this opportunity is not enjoyed by all children with special needs," said Marcel Lauzière, Executive Director of the CCSD.

"Most troubling in these findings is the association between low income and children with special needs," said Louise Hanvey, author of the report. Among its key findings, the report shows that children with special needs:

  • miss more school, change schools more often and perceive themselves as not doing well in school;
  • face barriers including inadequate funding for community-based services (such as educational, recreational and social services), an inability on the part of communities to provide supports and negative attitudes among the public and some professionals;
  • are frequently barred from participating in activities due to the inaccessibility of facilities and a lack of transportation (children in rural communities being particularly hard hit by this).

Children and Youth with Special Needs was written by Louise Hanvey, Project Director of The Progress of Canada’s Children. Findings in Children and Youth with Special Needs are based on new survey research by the CCSD and new analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY).

Children and Youth with Special Needs - Full Report

Disability Information Sheets

Disability Information Sheet was an occasional series of information sheets that the CCSD made available as part of its commitment to produce and disseminate research on persons with disabilities. The scope of CCSD plans was to disseminate research information on persons with disabilities to a broad range of users, including the following groups:

  • persons with disabilities
  • families and friends of persons with disabilities
  • governments at all levels
  • non-profit groups
  • social policy organizations
  • service providers
  • students and academics.

CCSD received countless requests for information about statistics and potential data sources related to persons with disabilities. This information was critical to people working with persons with disabilities, whether delivering services directly, designing programs and policies, or developing proposals, researching projects, and programming initiatives

To access the issues, click on the + symbol below

Disability Information Sheets
  • Issue #1 - Identifies a variety of Canadian data sources on Persons with Disabilities, and explores some possible research themes.
  • Issue #2 - Examines methodological issues surrounding a disability status variable when using longitudinal data. Includes data on the relationship between the disability status variable and employment between 1993 and 1998, and two tables about education and employment for people with and without disabilities.
  • Issue #3 - Focuses on the data about children with disabilities. It also includes some more information about disability, education and labour force participation.
  • Issue #4 - Provides more labour market statistics for persons with disabilities, as requested by many of our readers. In particular, we have had numerous requests for data that go beyond simple questions of labour force participation patterns. People want to know something about the kind of work that persons with disabilities do when they get a job in the paid labour market, and we have received many demands for more information about wages. So in this Information Sheet, we concentrate primarily on wage data using Statistics Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics.
  • Issue #5 - Examines wages and labour market statistics for persons with disabilities using Statistics Canada's Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID). The focus is on wages and economic security. In addition, we look at the movement of employed persons with and without disabilities within broad occupational groupings, and changes in the rate of involuntary part-time work.
  • Issue #6 - Provides statistics on persons with disabilities and their access to and use of computers. The database used is Statistics Canada's General Social Survey, Cycle 14, 2000.
  • Issue #7 - Looks further at the statistics on persons with disabilities and their access to and use of computers.
  • Issue #8 - Explores some of the differences between workers with disabilities and workers without disabilities. We look at job stress, feelings of being overqualified, job security, and the introduction of new technologies in the workplace.
  • Issue #9 - Focuses on the health and well-being of persons with disabilities. We look at self-rated health status, access to health care, and various supports for persons with disabilities, including social support, emotional support, affection, friendships and more.
  • Issue #10 - Workers with disabilities, and issues of personal security among persons with disabilities.
  • Issue #11 - Explores the use of medication among persons with disabilities. There is also a short section on children with disabilities and how they fit in at school.
  • Issue #12 - Examines persons with disabilities and the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC); difficulties with local transit; and children with special needs at school.
  • Issue #13 - Explores the use of medical professionals and alternative health care providers by persons with and without disabilities.
  • Issue #14 - Provides statistics on persons with disabilities and a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, arthritis/rheumatism, cataracts, and migraines.
  • Issue #15 - Profiles vision and hearing loss among persons with disabilities. In the second part of this sheet, we take a look at the impact of collective bargaining agreements on persons with disabilities.
  • Issue #16 - Workers with Disabilities and the Impact of Workplace Structures.
  • Issue #17 - Supports and Services for Persons with Disabilities in Canada: Requirements and Gaps.
  • Issue #18 - Provides various employment-related statistics for persons with disabilities in Canada, using data from the 2001 Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS), the 2001 Workplace and Employee Survey (WES), and the 2001 Census of the Population. We also provide a brief summary of some of the findings of a report entitled Supports and Services for Adults and Children Aged 5-14 with Disabilities in Canada, and in particular, the requirements and unmet needs for employment supports and services.
  • Issue #19 - Examine the combination of both hearing and seeing disabilities, and combined disabilities for agility/mobility and pain. We also provide basic employment rates by disability types (including combinations).
  • Issue #20 - Examines the medication and health care patterns of children with disabilities.