YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)– An international interdepartmental conference regarding the problem of disability among children began in the American University of Armenia–last Monday. The conference was arranged by Armenia’s Ministry of Health together with the UN. The conference was sponsored by the American "Children conquering heights" organization and the United Armenian Fund.
It was reported at the conference that of 110,000 disabled persons living in Armenia about 7,500 are children under 16–of which 3,800 became invalids because of nervous and mental diseases.
Presenting one of the health programs–Artsrun Hakopian–of the Ministry of Health–pointed out that this program is aimed at revealing disability at early stages–which will make it possible to carry out rehabilitation arrangemen’s in time. The program is also aimed at organizing comprehensive medical assistance to retarded children–improving the living conditions of families with disabled children as well as assisting such children during the awkward age. An individual program should be developed for each child which would promote physical and psychological development and give him necessary knowledge.
It was pointed out that appropriate changes are expected to be made in the syllabus of the Yerevan Medical University. Changes are also planned in the educational sphere because many believe that–disabled children should attend comprehensive schools. A Center that deals with the problems of disabled children has been established on the basis of the children’s neurological hospital No.6. "It is important that society should properly understand the needs of disabled children and their families. Conditions should be created for disabled children to be full members of society," Hakopian said.
The conference which ended on Tuesday will be followed by two day-long seminars to discuss strictly specialized issues–such as infantile paralysis–congenital shortcomings–inherited diseases