"I want society to recognise my child" | Mission East

"I want society to recognise my child"

Zara and social worker

Interview with Karine Martirosyan, mother to seven-year old Zara. Zara has a disability and attends an inclusive school where she is educated in a targeted curriculum developed by Mission East. This has helped Karine to regain her self-confidence – and the daughter has found the joy in going to school. 

How has it helped your child?
When Zara first started in school she just sat and cried. Very often I was close to the decision to give up taking my child to school. Her primary education teacher was persuading me not to give up, be patient and she would adapt. And my Zara did it. The first months were really very hard. I think the next benefit would be that she likes to play with other children of her age and she could learn by watching them. She learns a lot from seeing rather then being spoken to. Another benefit would be that now she likes to play with other children, as when she first started she did not. 

How do you feel that Zara is benefiting?
Now Zara is learning something. She is accomplishing the goals that the teaching staff and I have placed upon her. She is achieving success with her individual program. She loves her school. 

What advice would you give to other parents in placing their children in schools?
For one thing, the child belongs to the world of children. Part of that world is the school. Never cut her off from her world, just help to find the best place for her in that world. I am a parent like you; I share your thoughts, fears and feelings. From the time our child with a disability is born we begin the never ending battle to have the society and the community values our children as any others. We are often given diagnosis of our children’s disabilities along with a lifelong prescription for a devalued life: your child will never learn, run, play and talk. This perception of our child follows us from service systems, to school, to the community and into adulthood. We as parents of children with disabilities simply want recognition that our children are valuable human beings and deserve to be loved and cared for by society. 

From Mission East's magazine, February 2006