The importance of early investment on disabled children is discussed with reference to the social model of disability, following the mainstreaming approach of discussing issues related to disabled children within the general context of issues related to children. Data on child early education and evidence on its effects on child development and achievements are presented, emphasizing both cognitive and non cognitive results; the relevance of both these aspects is stressed for the social inclusio of people with disabilities. Government involvement in the early education of disabled children is advocated both on efficiency and on distributional grounds, as households with high time preference rates are likely to under invest in the human capital of children with disability, with subsequent individual and social losses. A picture of the different concern of international institutions for early childhood disability is drawn, and the delay in identifying disability in Italy is shown.
Key words: Human capital, Economics of the handicapped, Childcare.
JEL Classification: J13, J14.