Armenia Must Raise Public Awareness of Down Syndrome
20.03.2015
12:00
In 2014, 45 children with Down syndrome were born in Armenia, experts state. There is no accurate and timely statistical information while according to the Health Ministry, 22 infants with Down syndrome were abandoned and sent to residential institutions last year.

At the Media Center press conference Zara Batoyan, head of the National Alliance of Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, said Armenia has seen a recent positive shift in the public attitude towards children with Down syndrome, however, there are still concerns regarding integration and education of these children.

As children in Armenia are not provided with a whole complex of specialized services for children with Down syndrome, working with them is hindered, with the Government lacking precise statistics about these children. “It is a major concern that presently only data about children with disabilities are available while we do not have any statistics regarding people living with Down syndrome,” Batoyan said.

The Media Center held a press conference featuring the World Down Syndrome Day which is observed on March 21. The speakers included: Zara Batoyan, head of the National Alliance of Protection of Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Anna Movsisyan, parent; and Hasmik Azatyan, psychologist at Yerevan Medical-Psychological-Pedagogical Assessment Center. The speakers will share thoughts on advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome in Armenia.

Among a number of unsolved issues in Armenia emerges the lack of public awareness and of the complex of required services. “As a result, a lot of people avoid communicating people with Down syndrome, particularly at schools. It is crucial to bear in mind these children can be educated, they can live a long life and work,” Batoyan added.

Parents are not well-informed about the services available, Batoyan believes. ''They must know how to react and behave when they are told they are going to have a child with Down syndrome. Services range from psychological, informative consultancy to rehabilitation. Yet, in Armenia parents do not have an access to this complex of services and without knowing what to do, what organization to apply to, parents find themselves in a deadlock. Psychologically vulnerable parents sometimes rush to give up their child.''

Anna Movsisyan, mother of a child with Down syndrome, said lack of information leads to discrimination. ''Once people get to know the child's abilities, they forget about the problem. I myself have long stopped thinking about my son's health problem. I instead see his abilities as a human being.''

Movsisyan recalled the obscure situation she found herself in when her child was born. “I was myself at a loss. I took him to school because I wanted to prove my child could study at a school of general education. He went to school, made friends with students there but much changed for the better when inclusive education was introduced. People began accepting and understanding that Down syndrome cannot stop him from studying, working, succeeding and dreaming.”

Hasmik Azatyan, psychologist at Yerevan Medical-Psychological-Pedagogical Assessment Center, believes instant psychological support should be provided to parents at maternity hospitals. “Maternity hospitals do not have psychologists in their staffs who will explain to parents how to behave when their child is born with Down syndrome. They have to suffer through a five-stage stress,” the psychologist said, “At schools it is often parents who create such an atmosphere that make children avoid their classmates with Down syndrome.”

The speakers called on the society to discern the person, their abilities, without focusing on their medical diagnosis. “We are talking about human beings and we must take care we use appropriate words, especially when writing articles and posting on social networks.”

 

Videos
Print Friendly and PDF
More Press Releases
“Environmental Disaster in Lori: The Consequences of Akhtala Mountain Enrich Combinat”
29.01.2018
12:00
The media regularly reportes that the old mine dumps of Akhtala Mountain Enrich Combinat, situated between Chochkan and Mets Ayrum communities in Lori region, poses a danger to the environment and the population.
“The 4th President of Armenia: a Ceremonial Position or a Weighty Political Figure?”
24.01.2018
12:00
On March 2, 2018, the RA National Assembly will elect the 4th President of Armenia. On January 18, Armen Sargsyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, was nominated as the candidate for the presidency of the Republic of Armenia during the meeting of the executive body of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA).
“Does the State Refuse its Obligations? Donation Call by the RA Minister of Defense for the Treatment of the Military Serviceman”
17.01.2018
12:00
On January 13, RA Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan posted on his Facebook page about the treatment expenses of military serviceman Albert Dallakyan, who was wounded as a result of violating the rules for safe handling with a weapon by the platoon commander. The minister urged to donate for surgery of the wounded soldier abroad. The required amount is 46,000 USD.
“Report on Violations of Conscripts’ Rights during the Conscriptions in 2016-2017”
25.12.2017
12:00
The most urgent issue for conscripts involves the health issues and medical conclusions during conscriptions. In 2016-2017, 50 out of 59 applications filed by the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor Office referred to the health issues of conscripts.
“Is Forgiving Heads of Communities a Recovery of Local Self - Government System or Promotion of Corruption? Response to Serj Sargsyan’s Speech”
19.12.2017
11:00
On December 9, 2017, during the meeting dedicated to local self-government and territorial administration bodies RA President Serzh Sargsyan stated in particular:
Follow us on social networks
Registration of events
Services
Videos
Press Releases
Armenia-Turkey Events