Advancing Inclusive Policies for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Alberta

dc.contributor.advisorZwicker, Jennifer
dc.contributor.authorVashist, Neha
dc.description.abstractThe COVID-19 pandemic revealed significant gaps in disability-inclusive policy. Children and youth with disabilities encountered heightened difficulties due to barriers already in place at the onset of the pandemic. While policy responses to public health crises tend to offer "universal" measures, individuals with disabilities face intersecting vulnerabilities that require targeted attention. Policies in place before and during the pandemic failed to provide the necessary supports to navigate these challenges effectively. The pandemic revealed an urgent need for comprehensive and targeted disability policies that consider intersectional vulnerabilities, diverse healthcare needs, and barriers to access. This study aimed to explore how lessons learned from the pandemic can guide the creation of equitable policies that support children and youth with disabilities in Alberta. A virtual focus group was conducted using the Nominal Group Technique. Participants included youth with disabilities, families of children and youth with disabilities, and non-profit stakeholders. The goal of the focus group was to better understand the challenges and barriers that disabled children, youth, and their families faced during the pandemic to inform future inclusive disability-policy recommendations. Data gathered from the focus group was transcribed to text so that participant responses to policy recommendations could be effectively analyzed. Based on the focus group findings and current literature, the following policy recommendations are offered to policymakers in Alberta: 1. Recognize disability services as essential services to ensure continuous access. 2. Design fair and sustainable economic supports for parents/caregivers of children & youth with disabilities. 3. Co-design policy with relevant stakeholders, including children & youth with disabilities, their families, service providers, and community organizations. 4. Implement a flexible design for disability programs and healthcare services, prioritizing a patient-centric approach. 5. Reduce reliance on the education system to provide all types of services.
dc.identifier.citationVashist, N. (2023). Advancing Inclusive Policies for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Alberta (Unpublished master's project). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
dc.publisher.departmentSchool of Public Policy
dc.publisher.facultyFaculty of Graduate Studies
dc.rightsUniversity of Calgary graduate students retain copyright ownership and moral rights for their thesis. You may use this material in any way that is permitted by the Copyright Act or through licensing that has been assigned to the document. For uses that are not allowable under copyright legislation or licensing, you are required to seek permission.
dc.subjectdisability policy
dc.subjectpatient-centred care
dc.titleAdvancing Inclusive Policies for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Alberta
dc.typereport of Calgary of Public Policy
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