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What is the attitude towards children with disabilities? USA vs. Armenia


Family – mother, father, daughter and their 14-year-old boy, who has autism, came to a café. In fact, they are actors and help to organize social experiment.


Around one third of respondents are willing to isolate children with intellectual disabilities. We do not recommend you to imagine to what kind of results could lead social experiment in Armenia represented in a video. However, this video is a good opportunity to address treatment of children with disabilities. According to data of survey “Attitude towards children with disabilities” conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund in 2013, 95% of respondents believe that a physically disabled child should be involved in society. However, this figure is significantly reduced in case of children with mental disabilities when about one third of respondents believe that such children should be separated from society.


When asked how acceptable it is for them to take their children with physical disabilities to events with them (wedding, birthday party, hospitality, etc.), the most part of the parents answered that it is quite (66%) or likely (24%) acceptable, while 9% considered it to be unacceptable.


Only 63% of respondents considered quite acceptable or more likely that parents of children with intellectual disabilities can take them to the events. 34% of respondents do not consider it acceptable which is by 25% more than in case of physical disability.


The same attitude is observed in case of attending school. Half of the respondents voted for physically disabled children to go to a regular school, while in case of intellectual disability 87% of them believe that a child should go to a special school.


The majority of respondents – 87%, considers it normal that their child can have a physically disabled friend, but only for 58% of them it is acceptable in case of children with intellectual disabilities.


What is the resulting situation?


According to the report of the United Nation’s Children’s Fund “It is about inclusion”, 1 out 5 children with disabilities or 18% does not attend school at all. In case of loco motor or/and mentally disabled children this figure is 25%. These indicators are higher in rural areas. Stereotypical character of reasons is another obstacle. In this regard, girls with disabilities are the most vulnerable. 51% of the parents of children with disabilities not attending school and living in rural areas and 36% of children with disabilities not attending school and living in Yerevan believe that their children cannot attend school. 1 of every 6 children with disabilities or 16% lives or studies at orphanage or special boarding school. Moreover, orphanages more often accept girls with disabilities than boys.


Children with disabilities are less likely to have friends and participate in community events. 12% of children with disabilities do not have friends at all and 33% do not participate in community events.

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