Experiences in the early years have a profound impact on the health, wellbeing and learning of all children. Children with a disability are children first and have the same rights as all children to access health, education, and other community services and supports. Too often families with a child with an intellectual disability struggle to access the support they need during these crucial years.
IHC believes that:
- Children with an intellectual disability have the right to a strong start in life
- Early support is vital and no family should have to fight for essential help
- There should be greater investment in the provision of early, flexible, coordinated and sustained support for children with an intellectual disability and their families
- Families should have timely access to information to enable them to make informed choices and connect with supports.
What we are doing:
Start Strong is IHC’s campaign to get better, early and sustained support for young children with disabilities and their families. We are working to get commitment to action so that government, community organisations, early childhood education, early childcare and early intervention services, schools, and child health practitioners work together with families to give children with disabilities a strong start to life.
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Get to know more about Start Strong and what’s happening for disabled children and their families in New Zealand.
Find out about the Early Childhood Education Taskforce Report and keep up with government’s response
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James, 7, lives in Howick and he has Down syndrome. His family have to fight every step of the way to make sure he is treated fairly.
As a baby he had a bladder infection that turned to septicaemia and his mother, Francesca, says staff had been too quick to put his sickness down to his disability and sent him home from hospital. Then his kindergarten was not prepared to have him there without teacher-aide support. Francesca had to take him away, crying, from his friends. When it was time for school, the story was the same.
She says she sometimes feels overwhelmed. “There are days when I want to put my head under the pillow and forget all about it.”
She says children like James have the law on their side and apparent protection for their human rights. “It’s great on paper, but it’s not happening. Who is accountable for that?