Armenia has made considerable progress in the protection of the rights of children with disabilities. More children every year are included in regular schools, medical aid and rehabilitation. Non-governmental organizations are providing an array of services to children with special needs and their parents. Yet there is a lot of room for improvement – children with disabilities and their families are entitled to be supported through coordinated services accompanying the child along the life cycle. Inclusion enables their progressive promotion and protection of their rights.
Thousands of children with special needs in Armenia are still isolated from their families, peers and communities and live in orphanages and special boarding schools. Many children with disabilities do not attend preschool and school at all, and do not participate in the life of their communities. The lack of social inclusion of these children keeps reinforcing segregation.
More and more people in Armenia have increased their understanding of the fact that a society able to include children with disabilities is a better society for everyone. Learning in inclusive kindergartens and schools is the passport to living in a society where every member can lead a dignified life. To receive education and grow up in a family environment are inalienable rights of each and every child, regardless of their abilities or vulnerabilities. No child can develop his/her full potential without a surrounding enabling environment.
Children registered with disabilities form around 1% of the total child population in Armenia. Given the international expected benchmark disability rate of 2.5%, there are likely to be around 12,000 children with disabilities whose disability is not certified for various reasons such as the unwillingness of the family to get certification or the current diagnosis-based criteria of disability certification, who remain invisible to the social service system.
For more details, read the full report.