Armenian State Pedagogical University is hosting these days representatives of the Russian Deaf-Blind Support Foundation “Con-nection” (Со-единение).
During the three-day visit, the Russian partners delivered lectures for the students and lecturers of the Faculty of Special and Inclusive Education. By the way, joint supervision and defense of master's thesis is envisaged within the framework of the cooperation between the two institutions. The first defense of master’s thesis is scheduled to be held at the end of this academic year.
Welcoming the Russian colleagues, Srbuhi Gevorgyan, ASPU Vice-Rector for Educational and Scientific Affairs, said that seminars, discussions and lectures are of great importance for the University, since ASPU is the only educational institution that prepares special education teachers. The vice-rector wished the participants effective work and expressed hope that the three-day joint work will enable them to find new ways of solving problems, to get acquainted with the guests’ experience in order to properly organize socialization and rehabilitation of people with sensory and multisensory impairments.
“This is a common problem in the world. There are difficulties at the scientific level as well, as special education teachers need to master special educational tools and methods. I think that the university is the place from where we should start solving the problem,” said Director of the Con-nection Academy Lidia Frolova. She then presented how the problems of deafblind people are addressed in Russia and in various international platforms.
The studies of the academy have shown that an individualized plan is required while working with representatives of deafblind community. When speaking about the issues that they encounter during the work, Yulia Mayorova, another representative of the academy, particularly emphasized the organization of education for people with such problems, which, she said, is the only window to the world for them.
“Our country is switching to universal inclusion; however the organization of education for persons with multiple disabilities still has many gaps: specialists and teachers do not have relevant information on how to properly organize the teaching process. I hope that as a result of our collaboration we will be able to obtain the necessary methodological tools and abilities to identify the problems of persons with multiple disabilities and to map out the future. At the same time, this is a special training course for lecturers,” said Siranuysh Karapetyan, Dean of the Faculty of Special and Inclusive Education. She then presented the experience and current situation in Armenia in that direction.
According to the World Health Organization, the number of children with developmental disabilities is increasing, she said. On the other hand, there is no clear data on their number in Armenia, specifically it is not known where and how they study, what help is given to their families, how they socialize, etc.
Talking to aspu.am, Siranuysh Karapetyan said that the lecturers and MA students of the University have had many meetings with their colleagues, got acquainted with their experience and acquired skills and abilities to work with such children and their families. She believes that we should use the extensive experience of the Russian side and determine the number of people with sensory impairments.
Aleksan Aharonyan, Principal of Yerevan School N14 after Nikoghayos Tigranyan for children with visual impairments, agrees with Siranush Karapetyan that Armenia is not ready to organize inclusive education yet.
“Our school is the only school in the country where children with different vision problems study. According to this mechanism, part of them will continue their education in secondary schools. If schools for children with visual impairments are not provided with Braille textbooks, how can their education be organized in secondary schools?” said Aleksan Aharonyan. He emphasized the importance of the meeting, stressing that mainly the Pedagogical University should provide trainings in this field.
His speech was followed by reports of Russian colleagues who presented the Russian and international experiences of socialization and rehabilitation of persons with sensory and multisensory (hearing) impairments.