Disability and Equity

Child in wheelchair laughing with two adult women

Too often, disability is left out of public health and social equity frameworks. We explicitly see disability as a cross-cutting issue that needs to be named across levels, with special attention to children and youth. Disability frameworks like the International Classification of Functioning and Disability (ICF) focus on participation across levels, with special attention to children and youth. In our work, we push the boundaries of research and practice forward by integrating health equity, social determinants of health, life course, and other frameworks. 

Applying an equity framework highlights the barriers encountered by children, youth, and families, rather than focusing on the “disability” as the barrier. Persons with disabilities and families with disabilities consistently see higher rates of poor developmental, physical and mental health compared to persons and families without disabilities; such experiences are compounded by race, school district, neighborhood, gender, and poverty.