Call for abstracts


Call for abstracts

The Inclusion and Welfare of Children and Young People with disabilities

Children and Young people with disabilities constitute a particularly vulnerable group worldwide. Their rights are therefore protected through both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (UN, 1989) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (UN, 2006). Hereby, all children and young people with disabilities have the right to a full and best possible life, and authorities should remove all barriers that prevent them from becoming independent, active members of society (Article 23, UN, 2006).   Access to education is particularly relevant, although not the only need for this age group; Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for example, highlights the importance of education to achieving the wellbeing of persons with disabilities (UN, 2006).  With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal, “Leave no one behind” (Jolley et al., 2018), it would be expected that marginalized groups, who also include children and young people with disabilities, especially in low-income countries, be included and not left out of mainstream development efforts. These challenges are recognized internationally.  For instance, 166 African countries have ratified the CRPD implying that African countries have pledged to observe the right of children with disabilities to be included at all levels of education and all welfare and health services.  This commitment is reiterated in the Protocol to the African Charter. 

Despite legal instruments, protocols, laws and policies, and the current Sustainable Development Goals, the vast majority of children with disabilities do not have access to appropriate education and welfare/health services (Adugna et al., 2022).  There is still a long way to go for the full inclusion of children and young people with disabilities in all aspects of society (Sæbjørnsen, Makuu & Ødegård, 2023).  For example, in the East African country, Tanzania, these children miss the necessary help and support for the best possible life and development, including protection from violence, abuse, and exploitation, as well as access to health services, school, and education (Sæbjørnsen, Makuu & Ødegård, 2023).  Despite the inclusion of children with disabilities featuring on the political agenda of many countries, children and young people with disabilities still feel largely excluded not only in schools/higher education but from general health and welfare systems also.  This exclusion impacts the individual’s wellbeing, welfare and their need for independence.  It also impacts their parents and family.  Exclusion and lack of integration limits the potential these children/young people have to make a significant contribution to the community and society as a whole.


Addressing exclusion faces numerous challenges: inclusion policies are created ‘top-down’ by policymakers who have no lived experience of disability (Hayes & Bulat, 2017). As such, social work practitioners, educators and other professionals often face challenges in an effort to implement such policies. Further, in a rural context, for instance, there are still children with disabilities who ‘are out of school’ because they cannot enroll in the local mainstreams or special schools in urban towns.  The situation of children and young people with disabilities worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, where children with disability were particularly likely to be excluded (Makuyana, 2022). The situation was exacerbated in areas of under-privilege and high poverty levels.

The exclusion of children and young people living with disability is a challenge that requires multidisciplinary, multiagency and interprofessional collaboration and innovation. Social workers, health workers, educators and many others must work together to find innovative ways to redress the welfare challenge of children and young people with disabilities. However, this is hindered by the scarcity of literature that brings together an international, comparative and interprofessional/interdisciplinary perspective in this field.



It is against the background provided that the editors of this special issue wish to invite academics and people in practice to submit papers for a special issue on The Inclusion and Welfare of Children and Young People with disabilities.

The Special Issue aims to generate discussion on innovative ideas and interventions to counteract the challenges of exclusion of children with disabilities.  Perspectives are welcomed that capture macro, meso and micro levels:  Authors might explore both how governments could support children and young people with disabilities in terms of inclusion.  They might explore how teacher, social worker and health professional education programs are structured or how children/young people and their families experience exclusion/inclusion. 

The aim and purpose of the Special Issue is to stimulate critical debate about praxis and pedagogical social innovations, new developments and initiatives, and to provide empirical and experiential-grounded research and conceptual/theoretical, psychological, sociological, social work and philosophically based scholarly papers, to produce critical reflections on inclusion of children and young people with disabilities.  Considering that efforts to achieve inclusion that have been done already, the issue of exclusion of children with disabilities is not new in the contemporary scholarly debates and scholarship.  However, this Special Issue aims to build on contemporary debate by asking the following questions:

  • What should be done differently in terms of barrier removal in inclusive mainstream schools to include children with disabilities, especially in the global South?
  • What sociology, psychology, philosophy, social work or teaching theories should be applied to assist the learning and inclusion of children with disabilities?
  • How does interprofessional and international collaboration play a role in achieving inclusion in the education and welfare of children with disabilities and how might coproduction of knowledge, incorporating different perspectives be facilitated? How should the governments, parents, children/young people and community be engaged to achieve inclusion?


We welcome contributions from all national contexts.  However, we particularly welcome contributions from the African continent and other global South contexts. We welcome contributions from all disciplines including, but not exclusively, social work and education.  We welcome papers that explore exclusion from all dimensions of society, but as we focus on children and young people, inclusion in education (at all levels) is likely to be a common theme.   We encourage participation from NGOs, public and private sector organizations, as well as academic contributors.  We strongly encourage that writing teams seek academic and practice participants in their writing teams.  If teams are finding this difficult, the editorial team will help coordinate potential partnerships if authors require this.


Possible Themes


  • Policies of inclusive education and implementation
  • Professional training for teachers, social workers and health care workers
  • Psychological, sociological, social work, pedagogical theories and philosophies for including children and young people with disabilities in education
  • Challenges and opportunities in teaching and learning of children and young people with disabilities
  • Social innovations including innovative digital technology for inclusion
  • Parental involvement in the learning and welfare of children/young people with disabilities
  • Challenges in placing children and young people with disabilities in Special Schools
  • Hybridity and effective inclusion
  • Resource distribution for the education and welfare of children and young people with disability
  • Interprofessional and international collaboration especially the cooperation of social workers and educators
  • Critical analyses of case study innovations in the field of education (including primary, secondary and higher/further education) and social work
  • Social work and emotional wellbeing of children and young people with disabilities
  • Lessons from the Global South and North and international comparisons


Submission and time frames

We ask you to submit abstracts of 300 words including proposed title, authors and content. Please submit abstracts to by the  1 November 2024

The abstract or proposal acceptance does not guarantee final acceptance for publication; the review process determines the outcome.  You will hear back on the outcome of the review by 1 December 2024.

Authors are expected to submit the full manuscripts to the Journal by the 1 June 2025, following the following guidance:

A critical perspective should be employed throughout the manuscript and manuscripts should neither have appeared in nor be under consideration by other journals/outlets


General enquiries: Ndlovu, Sibonokuhle:

Abstract submissions & Specific enquiries:


With best wishes from the Editors:

Ndlovu, Sibonokuhle:

University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Gaone Molapisi:

University of South Africa, South Africa


Hean, Sarah:

University of Stavanger, Norway


Sæbjørnsen, Siv;

Molde University College, Norway



Adugna, M., Ghahari, S., Merkley, S. & Rentz, K. (2022). Children with disabilities in Eastern Africa face significant barriers to access education: a scoping review.  International Journal of Inclusive Education.  DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2022.2092656

CRC, U. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child. CRC becomes incorporates in Swedish law.

United Nations. (2006). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)| United Nations EnableDonohue, D. & Bornman, J. (2014). The challenges of realising inclusive education in South Africa. South African Journal of Education, 32(2), 1-14.

Hayes, A.M. & Bulat, J (2017). Disabilities Inclusive Education Systems and Policies Guide for Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Available at:

Jolley, E.; Lynch, P.; Virendrakumar, B.;  Rowe, S &  Schmidt, E (2018).  Education and social inclusion of people with disabilities in five countries in West Africa: a literature review, Disability and Rehabilitation, 40:22, 2704-2712, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1353649

Makuyana, T. (2022). Towards interventions on school dropouts for disabled learners amidst and post-COVID-19 pandemic. African Journal of Disability11, 1009.

Sæbjørnsen, S. E.N., Makuu, M. J., & Ødegård, A. (2023). Change agents–improving the situation of children with disabilities. In Change Agents: An interprofessional book about children with disabilities in Tanzania and Norway (pp. 19-32). DOI:

UN General Assembly (1989) , Convention on the Rights of the Child, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1577, p. 3, 20 November 1989, [Accessed 31 May 2024]