This current event post is contributed by Jenna. What is the media saying about children with special needs? Preview this new article and then contribute to the discussion questions posed. Thank you and enjoy!
Uzbekistan’s first Special Olympics challenges stigma against children with disabilities
This article discusses the first-ever National Special Olympics held in Uzbekistan in 2012. It was a very exciting step for the nation in moving towards eliminating the stigma associated with disabilities. It is also a demonstration of the Uzbekistan government’s commitment to supporting and protecting children with disabilities.
The article mentions that the number of registered children with disabilities in Uzbekistan has been increasing, with worsening economic conditions cited as a possible factor in the increase. The major infrastructure in place for children with special needs in Uzbekistan is institutionalization. However, a study showed that many of the children who are currently institutionalized could live with their families if the proper support systems existed. In 2005, the Ministry of Public Education issued a decree encouraging all education departments to mainstream children with disabilities.
I chose this article because it is a mini-success story that inspires optimism about a subject that can sometimes be upsetting. I am not surprised that Uzbekistan was so late to hold its own Special Olympics. Given the economic situation, that is not necessarily a priority for them. But I think the fact that they did take this step is indicative of a bigger movement within the country to increase support for children with special needs.
I also think that the current system of institutionalization in Uzbekistan poses some challenges for the future of this movement. The goal of improving the lives of children with special needs is theoretically consistent with the system of institutionalization, but there are some better alternatives that could accomplish this. I am particularly interested in hearing your thoughts on this controversial subject, as we have to be realistic in terms of what is feasible for this nation.
1. The first-ever International Special Olympics was held in the United States in 1968. Why do you think it took so long for Uzbekistan to hold its own National Special Olympics?
2. What are some ways you think the Uzbekistan government could continue to support children with special needs?
3. What are some other reasons why the number of registered children with disabilities in Uzbekistan may be increasing?
4. What are your thoughts on mainstreaming children with special needs into the public education system? When is it most effective? What are some of the risks?