Intellectual Disabilities in Humanitarian Assistance Policy and Practice: The Need to Consider the Diversity Within Disability

Published on 4 April 2014

This chapter examines the consideration and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in humanitarian assistance policy and practice. While this chapter will touch on many issues faced by all people with disabilities, there is a need to recognize the diversity within disability to ensure interventions are responsive to everyone’s needs, with ‘one size fits all planning unhelpful in overcoming discrimination’.

This does not suggest that attention should shift from other types of disabilities, but rather that it should encompass the whole spectrum of disability, including those with intellectual disabilities. Adopting the social model of disability identifies barriers that lead to exclusion from participation in mainstream societal activities, or in this case, from mainstream humanitarian responses.

Data were gathered from an extensive review of relevant literature, as well as interviews and correspondence with various humanitarian organizations, including, but not limited to, Save the Children, Oxfam, Handicap International (HI), CBM, UNICEF, and Action on Disability and Development (ADD).


Brigitte Rohwerder

Research Officer

Publication details

published by
Rohwerder, B.
Mitchell, D. and Karr, V.


Related content


Informal Economy Perspectives on the Prevalence of Worst Forms of Child Labour in Bangladesh’s Leather Industry

CLARISSA Research and Evidence Paper 8

A.K.M. Maksud & 3 others

21 May 2024