The successful rehabilitation of children with special needs depends on specialists who take care of them and parents being the main muscle to realize that care. The new GIZ project trains providers of rehabilitation services to enhance support of children with special needs and their families.
Over the recent years thanks to the reforms in social services, the approaches to the rehabilitation of children with special needs have significantly changed. There is a tendency to increase the number of children with special needs to live at home, and not in special institutions. Such approach is based on ideas to normalize the life of such children and their families, integrate them into society and create inclusive environment.
The new concept of the social services provision enables Ukrainian communities to widen the range of social services they provide to families with children with special needs to receive more opportunities for better and dignified life.
Such services include early intervention (when correctly diagnosed child on early stage receives timely support and it may reduce the disablement in future). Other aspects of the approach include changes in daycare, inclusive environment in schools and kindergartens, functioning resource centers and sensory rooms available in the communities. Together these measures open the opportunity for effective correction work and possibility to independent life.
Sensory integration is one of effective methods for correction. It helps to stimulate sensory systems (sight, smell, touch etc.) and achieve relaxation, develop concentration, control attention, correct psychological conditions, and much more.
To put the sensory integration into practice the sensory rooms with specific equipment started to appear in communities, which also entails the bigger need to train specialists – social workers, psychologists, resource teachers, rehabilitologists, physical therapists – those who can provide the service.
“The topic of rehabilitation of children with special needs remains relevant and mainly becomes the problem of parents. With this project we provide special knowledge to the professionals of the institutions to enhance their capacity as they provide the services on rehabilitation and correction. Important for us is also complex approach – the specialists for both regions (Donetsk and Luhansk GCA) will also receive post-training supervisory sessions to ensure the efficiency in practice. Additionally, we’ll organize support groups for parents, since the rehabilitation of a child cannot happen without family engagement”, commented Olena Moniuk, coordinator of the GIZ Project.
The Project “Developing service structures and training capacities for psychosocial support” has been focusing on the support to the most vulnerable groups in eastern Ukraine. With the local partner NGO “Egida-Zaporizhzhia” the project aims to improve system of rehabilitation of children through sensory integration.
Experts from “Egida-Zaporizhzhia” conduct trainings for professionals in the field and psycho-correction initiatives for the families from Donetsk and Luhansk regions. They engage specialists who work with kids of all ages, teenagers and their families, or those who raise children with special needs or risk of developmental disabilities.
“Along with theoretical framework and necessary practical skills, we pay much attention to the interaction between the professionals of different specialisation while they do the rehabilitation tasks, as well as the role of family in the whole rehabilitation process. During the trainings, the question of the support in the family, especially from mothers and main directions of psycho-correction work have been repeatedly raised”, comments Inna Gordienko and Hanna Prishutova, trainers who work for the Project.
The first activities within the Project started in November 2021 and will continue until June 2022. So far, 24 local specialists took part in the trainings and enhanced their capacity on the sensory integration methods, interaction with clients both inside the sensory room and during psycho-correction sessions.
The activities under the project are supported by supervision sessions for specialists, they will focus on the work with parents, as they are the main resource in the rehabilitation process. The level of stress such families face is enormous, it originates from financial, physical, and psychological challenges. It all may lead to a burnout. That is why for successful rehabilitation a specialist should work closely with the family.
Psychologists and social workers from eastern Ukraine train during the trainings on sensory integration.
The first trainings took place in November 2021, which are now followed by supervisory sessions for specialists and support groups for parents. Altogether the project activities will continue until June 2022. Along with that the partner “Egida-Zaporizhzhia” will produce brochures and booklets on important topics to handout to social services providers and families they work with
On 7 February 2022, the Partner held the first Round Table for the Centres for Social services of the region, to highlight the importance of the topic of inclusiveness of children with special educational needs and behavioral disorders into the community and promote the most actual tendences in correction work. Specialists from hromadas, involved in the communication during round table, will be able to create new professional community to exchange experience and receive support from project experts.
At a later stage “Egida-Zaporizhzhia” will develop a series of video materials which will be made available for the local specialists upon the end of the project.
The project is implemented in Donetsk and Luhansk regions with the support of German Federal Government