It is our philosophy that once you have learn something important and relevant, you share the new knowledge with your colleagues. It builds up professional confidence, at the same time colleagues improve their skills and knowledge.

 

The outcome of the teachers' training program of 2006 was the organization of the Special Educators' Club for the special education teachers and other professionals who work with the children with special educational needs. The primary aim of the Club is to provide its members with professional support in order the education of the children with special needs is organized more efficiently.

 

The Club took the following first steps in 2006:

 

  • Each member produced an informational poster of her specialized school.
  • The members designed the logo of the Club and produced the Club informational leaflet.
  • The Club members have organized teachers’ training conferences and the workshops became an ongoing part of the club work since he beginning.
  • The Club members organized common activities for the children with special needs and their peers.

 

Since the first steps the Club members have been active with the regular monthly meetings, during which many topics and relevant cases were discussed as well as special teaching material was developed, including educational games, adapted teaching worksheets, etc. The Club members also held informational visits to Yerevan and regional special and integration schools since 2009 and took part in some education fairs and exhibitions. A number of practical trainings and workshops were organized for the Club members with our local and foreign colleagues.

 

With an effort of DAA and the Special Educators’ Club members a manual on ADHD was published in 2011 in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia.

 

The long-term goal of the Club is to become the Association of Special Educators in Armenia. We hope to cooperate with different local and international organizations for the help in its development.

Each year since 1997 DAA has been running summer camps for the patients of Arabkir JMC&ICAH.

 

At the camps the sick children interact with the healthy children playing fun games and undertaking interesting activities. This is a good opportunity to let our patients build up contact with healthy children, let them have fun, play games and just talk about anything and everything that children do.

 

There have been different Summer Camp sights during these years: starting from Ayrudzi to Aparan Summer Recreation Resort. Various facilities provide the camp organizers with opportunities for a number of indoor and outdoor activities.

 

The other part of summer program consists of one-day excursions to various sights of Armenia, especially for those children who are unable to join the camp. During the recent years children visited Aghveran, Ejmiadzin, Tsakhadzor, Arzni, Aparan, Kotayk, Saghmosavank, Khor Virap, etc.

 

Once more we came to the conclusion that this model (combination of the camp and excursions) is an ideal one for the patients, as it allows many children to participate. In total 123 children took part in the one day excursions in 2012 and if the funding is available, we hope not only to run a similar program each year, but also to grow the number of children that can participate. It is always heart breaking when you need to tell a chronically or terminally ill children that they are unable to come due to the very limited spaces available.

 

The only real restriction in the number of children we can help is the availability of funds.

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Besides the core projects of Hospital School, Psycho-Social Service and PFH we run the following projects:

Mother and child program

The purpose of this program is to work with women who need support to improve the quality of life of their families. This is extremely difficult for all of them when struggling to cope with a severely ill child in the family.

 

The project started in 2002-2003 with a grant from USAID. Since 2005 it has run on a grant from the Swiss Foundation SAAT, which supports strengthening programs for women.

 

The mothers of the patients are offered workshops in practical life skills with the potential to earn a small income from them. Courses in Cooking, Art & Craft, Computing and Languages are offered and have been very well received not only by the families but also the medical personnel at the hospitals. Every month 22-25 mothers are included in the workshops with their hospitalized children and their siblings. Additionally, computer courses are offered to the children and their mothers free of charge. During the years of implementation, the project has undergone some changes mainly due to the needs of the beneficiaries, e.g. we have added workshops in educational games.

 

Combined activities of the mothers and their children working in the same group help to build their self confidence and to establish a sense of mutual respect while also creating a friendly and fun atmosphere of competition among families. The continuation of this program significantly improved the relations within the support groups. It is important for these mothers to see and feel that they are not alone in their need. It is powerful not just to be together, but to work together and see results and products of the common work.

 

In 2012, 1244 people (mothers, children, and siblings) benefited from this program. All the workshops offered the services weekly according to the fixed schedule. For more details see the program report.

 

We express our gratitude to SAAT Foundation for their continuous support of this very important program.

TEACHERS' TRAINING PROGRAMS / SPECIAL EDUCATORS' CLUB

summer Program

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