The information note of the UN Monitoring Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on handicapped people in Ukraine reported that only 15% of disabled Ukrainian children get access to inclusive education.

The rest of the 85% of disabled children, according to the Monitoring Mission, either attend specialised schools, study at home, or do not receive education at all, because schools in communities are adapted poorly to their educational needs. That is particularly so with staff training, physical accessibility of schools and training facilities, the materials and curricula relevance, and especially with information, communication support, and individual assistance.

“Many specialised support services available to children with disabilities in inclusive secondary schools have been quarantined. Among positive things is the All-Ukrainian School Online, a national initiative that includes online lessons, broadcasted on national television. However, sign language translation was provided only online. Besides, the lessons were not adapted for children with other educational needs,” the report said.

The suspension of full-time education hurt children with intellectual and psychosocial problems particularly hard. In Kherson and Kharkiv, respondents complained that children with autism spectrum disorders who attended public schools could not continue remote learning because they depended more upon direct personal communication with teachers.

Also, teachers and parents lacked methodological materials to adapt to online lessons. In addition, a large number of disabled children live in low-income families, which sometimes do not have the necessary equipment for distance learning. The educational process for children with autism spectrum disorders has also been influenced by the stress and emotional suffering caused by the resulting quarantine and isolation.

Analysts of the Zmina Centre for Human Rights

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