Results of the „1st Grade Student”program

Results of the „1st Grade Student”program
Bucharest, April 17 2014. European Center for the Rights of Children with Disabilities (ECRCD) in partnership with the Association for Dravet and Other Rare Epilepsies and The Bucharest School Inspectorate organized on Wednesday, April 16 2014 a press conference that marked the end of the “1st Grade Student” project, financed by Raiffeisen Bank and implemented between December 2013 and April 2014.
The pilot program was meant to help generate a good practice model for facilitating access to education for disabled children, with special focus on children with epilepsy. 
Thus, all throughout the program, that took place during December 2013 and April 2014, ECRCD and Dravet Association implemented over 150 counseling sessions, as explained bellow: 
- 73 counseling sessions on epilepsy and psycho-therapy for non-juridical persons (parents of children with epilepsy) and companies (2 intervention centers for children with various disabilities associated with epilepsy) 
- 88 counseling sessions regarding the rights of disabled children and access to education
The beneficiaries of these sessions were parents of children with disabilities and epilepsy aged between 9 months and 13; located in 11 counties. 
Also, the partnered organizations conducted 3 meetings with teachers from primary schools, attended by over 100 teachers from 20 schools in Bucharest.
Another result of the project was a study realized by CEDCD that detailed the needs of the educators and teachers for the mass school inclusion process of the disabled children. 
The general conclusion of the research is that, unfortunately, the Romanian education system is not ready to offer a decent education for children with disabilities. In the very rare cases in which children are integrated in mass schools, the educational act is made possible through the teachers’ efforts and goodwill. They are the only ones striving to find solutions for these children. We consider that is of extreme importance to profoundly reform the educational system, the financing of support and intervention services so that we avoid creating another generation of socially assisted people” declared Madalina Turza for CEDCD
The main results of the research conducted on 356 teachers from 17 counties show:
- 100% of consulted teachers consider mandatory the full time presence of an aid teacher in the classes attended by disabled children and not for only 2 days a week as it happens now.
- 73, 4% of teachers believe that the Education Ministry has to create adapted curricula and not the educator or the aid teacher as it presently happens.
- 100% mention the lack of didactic material adapted to the needs of disabled children and the absence of training programs for teachers that educate disabled children.
- Over 95% didn’t inform the authorities regarding the gaps in infrastructure or about the impossibility of carrying out the educational act, as they believe chances for actual change to be scarce. The teachers that notified the authorities were informed “that it is their duty to sort out the situation on their own.”
Other aspects brought up by the teachers also indicate the necessity for a psychologist employed full time in every school and the need to encourage the parents to admit the child’s disability beforehand and the importance of setting up Early Intervention Centers that prepare children with disabilities for integration in mainstream schools. 
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