Public Chamber joins fight for disabled peoples’ rights.

Sergei Vostretsov, member of Russia’s Public Chamber Commission on Health and Environment, said during a meeting of the commission in Kalmyki that it is necessary to introduce a Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher into each comprehensive school, to help disabled children adapt to school life. According to Vostretsov, one SEN teacher is enough for each school. The post should involve advising teachers on the best ways to teach disabled children and working with classmates and parents of disabled children. Vostretsov also thinks that the school psychologist is too overburdened and has no time to work with disabled children. Teachers often lack the necessary knowledge of the special requirements of their pupils. “For example, a deaf child would need the teacher to use a microphone, therefore the teacher needs to learn how to use technology” explained Vostretsov in an interview with ASI. The expert is writing an official letter to the Ministry of Education and Science. He hopes that his proposal will be considered.

Other proposals at the meeting included the following: during performance appraisals of regional governors, there should be an assessment of the work they are doing to help disabled people find a job; provision on the establishment of rehabilitation centres in all Russian regions should be included in the government program ‘Accessible Environment’; the principles that define disability and the procedures and organisation of medical and social expertise should be changed. Evgeny Achkasov, chairman of the Public Chamber Commission on Health and Environment, stated that “There should not be any socially vulnerable and marginalised people in the developed world. Disabled people should not have to face discrimination in areas of employment, education, public health and when trying to exercise their legal rights.”

Achkasov has stated that in 2010, the commission will monitor the health and welfare of disabled people in Russia and will prepare proposals to improve their retraining, employment prospects and health care.

Translated by Lina Numan

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