YEREVAN, October 16. /ARKA/.The number of children with disabilities in Armenia accounts to 8 thousand, which is 1% of the total number of children in the country, education officer at UNICEF Armenia Meri Poghosyan said on Tuesday, Novosti-Armenia reports.
“Heeding the fact that expected international index of children with disabilities is 2.5%, there may be about 12 thousand disabled kids in Armenia, whose status is not, however, confirmed due to different reasons,” she said presenting UNICEF’s research “Access to education ,health, social security in Armenia for children with disabilities.”
Among such reasons Poghosyan mentioned non-willingness of families to apply for disability status for their children.
She said 5,707 children, 5,322 of whom were under family care, and 385 were from orphanages, were involved into the research.
The research showed that 70% of children with disabilities who have families, go to schools, however, just 48% and 56% of children with intellectual disabilities and hearing disorders respectively attend educational establishments.
“Approximately each of four children with intellectual disability and musculoskeletal disorders doesn’t go to school. Moreover, majority of children with disabilities who live in special establishments have no access to education- almost 72% don’t go to any schools,” Poghosyan underlined.
On his side, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of Armenia Artem Asatryan said after signing the U.N. convention on rights of people with disabilities, Armenia’s government is obliged to provide such people with equal rights and freedoms.
“We must support people with disabilities from the very early childhood so as they have an opportunity to realize their potential and become functional members of the community. We share UNICEF’s vision on formation of inclusive society, and are ready to cooperate with international community and civil society structures for rolling out this vision,” minister said.
Asatryan also added that UNICEF’s research will contribute to improving the quality of social services in Armenia, and the revealed issues in this sector will prompt designing new social strategies and policy. -0-