Three parents of children living with disabilities shared the concern about their children’s learning and requested for more school for them who need special need, care and support for their education.

Mr. Sor Chan Rithy, 61, a father of a child with Autism spoke about parenting’s experiences, struggling, and support his family has given to his son. Life was tough to get to know that their child is diagnosed Autistic but nothing can change. He told “what we can do is to give him love, provide full support and teach him on basic living activities”.

Another mother, Mrs. Hoy Houng, 61, of a child with Down Syndrome also shared similar experiences in supporting her daughter. She said “every day is a challenge but we try our best as parents to ensure that she can live happily. At home we teach her to do certain

Sharing stories of parents of children living with disabilities
things such as eating, taking shower, wearing clothes and other basic activities to ensure that she can do things independently”. Mr. Chanthy and Mrs. Houng come regularly to Caritas’s Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health program (CCAMH) to get mental health services, special support, care for children and to quip themselves with skill to be able to take care their children at home. Both suggested the government and non-governmental organizations open more schools and train skilled teachers and special educators for children with special need and care.
This concern and suggestion have been made during the 3rd quarterly Catholic Alliance on Charity and Development (CACD) meeting, where they are invited to share stories and experiences raising children living with disability.

According to the World Health Organization, intellectual disability means a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills (impaired intelligence). This results in a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning), and begins before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.

Mental health and intellectual disabilities is the concerned issue in the work of the church. There are many efforts have been taken and activities to be implemented to support the need of the children with disabilities. Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler,

Vice chairman of Caritas Cambodia called for more concerted effort.  He also emphasized if we work collaboratively we can share more and support for children and people who are living with disabilities. Presently, Caritas Cambodia’s CCAMH, Karuna Battambong, the local church and a couple of Catholic organizations are running programs to support people with mental health and intellectual disabilities. They provide special services for children, capacity building to train children and parents, outreach activities, education and other interventions to ensure holistic approaches is given for them.
Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler is saying that together we can do more in simple ways to support children and people with disabilities
Lastly, Bishop shared one of the delightful announcement from the Ministry of Religion asking all the parish and churches to prepare wheelchairs accessibility for disabled children and people.
 Sharing session on different interventions among Catholic NGOs to support children and people living with disabilities

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