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Disabled children ‘face discrimination’ in Georgia

19 October 2017
(Sopho Aptsiauri)

People with disabilities are exposed to discrimination in many areas of life, according to a report by Georgia’s Public Defender published on 18 October. Some of the biggest problems people with disabilities face include restricted access to education and public transport, the report says.

The Public Defender documented several cases of disabled children and their parents being subjected to aggression on public transport from both drivers and other passengers.

They were approached by one person who claimed that they and their autistic child were subjected to discrimination from a bus driver. After accompanying them several times while traveling on public transport, employees of the Public Defender’s Office’s Equality Department observed that the child received abuse from drivers and passengers.

The report blamed their treatment on ‘low awareness and [a] stereotypical attitude’ towards autism. Citizens do not have information about autism disorder spectrum and are under the impression that a child’s behaviour is manageable’, the report added.

The Public Defender recorded several cases in which children with special educational needs faced obstacles to receiving an education.

The educational system is not fully tailored to children’s needs, the report says, due to flawed legislation and a lack of an adequate response from the Ministry of Education.

Another parent who addressed the Public Defender complained that their 10-year-old child was being excluded during lessons and frequently missing classes, as teachers lacked the skills to cope with the child’s hyperactivity disorder.

The report argued that the role of special education teachers should be determined by law, and they should be made more effective in order to make education more inclusive to pupils with special educational needs.

The Public Defender considers that an inconsistent approach towards the specific needs of children with autism spectrum disorders as well as imperfect legislation governing inclusive education encourages discrimination of children with disabilities.

The report also elaborated other issues people with disabilities face, such as discrimination in receiving social welfare.

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