Disabled kids receive harsher punishment in developing countries: Study

Washington: A new study has revealed that children with disabilities receive harsher punishment across the developing world.

According to the study conducted by researchers at the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy found that disabled children were more likely to be severely punished by being hit on the head or beaten with an object such as a stick or belt.

A research professor, Jennifer Lansford said that attitudes toward disabilities can vary between cultures adding that while disabilities are often stigmatized, the opposite can also be true.

She further said that in parts of India and Nepal children with cognitive disabilities are believed to have divine qualities. Likewise, beliefs about appropriate discipline vary greatly from culture to culture.

The study was conducted in countries which include Albania, Belize, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Iraq, Jamaica, Laos, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Suriname and Yemen.

Lansford said that more research into parental attitudes could help clarify why children are receiving harsh treatment and how to change that.

Co-author of the study, Marc H. Bornstein said that children with disabilities are at greater risk for harsh treatment from their caregivers and community education could make a difference.

The researchers said that informing parents about child disabilities may give them a better understanding of what types of interactions are most appropriate, constructive and effective for already disadvantaged youngsters.