"Aspects of Early Intervention Regarding Children with Special Needs" conference
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"Aspects of Early Intervention Regarding Children with Special Needs" conference

Nataliya Zymak-Zakutnya
Head of the Khmelnytsky OMNI-Center

On March 20, 2007 in Khmelnytsky there took place a conference on "Aspects of Early Intervention Regarding Children with Special Needs".

The conference was organized by International OMNI-Net Ukraine Not-For-Profit Organization (OMNI-Net), parental club "Veselka", Ukrainian Social Investment Fund (USIF), Facilitating Reform of Social Services in Ukraine (FRSSU), a project supported by Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

Among the conference participants there were over 50 practicing specialists in the field of psychology, pediatrics, rehabilitation, family medicine, medical genetics as well as representatives of parental support groups from Khmelnytsky, Volyn, Rivne, Kharkiv and Lviv oblasts.

OMNI-Net was represented by Lyubov Yevtushok, Head of the Executive Board, Tetyana Vyhovska, Deputy Head of the Executive Board, Nataliya Zymak-Zakutnya, Coordinator of the Khmelnytsky OMNI-Center, and partners from Volyn and Rivne oblasts - Tamara Savchuk, Head of Center for Early Pedagogical Rehabilitation and Social Adaptation of Children With Special Needs "Pahinets", Nataliya Vichalkovska, Senior Lecturer of Age-Specific and Pedagogical Psychology of L. Ukrainka Volyn State University, and Olena Melnyk, Head of Volyn Regional Public Organization of Parents of Children with Down Syndrome and Other Developmental Dirorders.

Nataliya Zymak-Zakutnya indicated that the basic inducement for the parental club "Veselka" creation is the satisfaction of needs of families, who have children with birth defects (BD), in contemporary and reliable information on BD diagnosis, care and prevention. It is possible to do through well coordinated work of a multidisciplinary team of specialists (physicians, psychologists, social workers, informational specialists, lawyers etc).

Tetyana Vihovska telling about OMNI-Net activities
Tetyana Vihovska
telling about
OMNI-Net activities
  

Tetyana Vihovska presented OMNI-Net elaborations and achievements in birth defects prevention and facilitating implementation of early intervention programs in Ukraine. It was also emphasized the key role of birth defects surveillance based on international standards in planning children's care.

Tamara Savchuk introduced the participants into activities of the Center for Early Pedagogical Rehabilitation and Social Adaptation of Children With Special Needs "Pahinets" - a unique institution, which creation was initiated by the Rivne parental organization, OMNI-Net and local authorities support.

Olena Melnyk spoke on the role of parental organizations in early intervention on the example of activities of the Volyn Regional Public Organization of Parents of Children with Down Syndrome and Other Developmental Disorders. In particular, Olena Melnyk highlighted the activities of her parental organization in initiating and spreading information on implementation of early intervention programs, rehabilitation and social adaptation, protection of rights, social adaptation of people with chromosome disorders, integration of children into kindergartens, public schools and their further career-guidance.

Tamara Savchuk sharing "Pahinets" experience
Tamara Savchuk sharing "Pahinets" experience
Olena Melnyk speaking
Olena Melnyk speaking

Significant contribution to organizing and holding the conference belongs to Facilitating Reform of Social Services in Ukraine, represented by Lyudmyla Burtnyk, Project Coordinator in Khmelnytsky oblast.

  
Lyudmyla Burtnyk speaking
Lyudmyla Burtnyk
speaking

Tetyana Derkach, Consultant Coordinator on Social Services and Potential Development of Khmelnytsky USIF office, told that this conference was another step towards facilitating cooperation between scientists and practical experts, who work in the sphere of early intervention all over Ukraine.

Oksana Vynyarska, a social teacher of the Educational Rehabilitation Center "Dzherelo" (Lviv), Alla Budantseva, Head of the Center for Children with Sight Impairments of Helios Educational Complex (Kamyanets-Podilsky), Lyudmyla Tsyhanyuk, Assistant Director of the Kamyanets-Podilsky Multiple-Discipline Educational and Rehabilitation Center, Tetyana Serdyuk, representative of USIF microproject "Center for Early Intervention and Rehabilitation "Vira" (Khmelnytsky), Lyudmyla Ruzhytska, leader of FRSSU minigrant "A Step Towards Children with Special Needs" (Krasyliv),and Olena Blyznyuk, psychologist of the Charitable Fund "Early Intervention Institute" (Kharkiv) also shared their valuable experience in implementation of early intervention methodology.

Oksana Vynyarska presenting Lviv Center "Dzherelo" activities
Oksana Vynyarska presenting
Lviv Center "Dzherelo" activities
  

Oksana Vynyarska, while introducing activities of the Lviv Educational Rehabilitation Center "Dzherelo", illustrated her speech with a film prepared in her center.

Lyudmyla Ruzhytska, representative of the project "A Step Towards Children with Special Needs" (Krasyliv) presented the project achievements in bringing early intervention services closer to villagers.

Importance of early intervention services expansion to village areas was also underlined in a speech of Tetyana Serdyuk, leader of microproject "Center for Early Intervention and Rehabilitation "Vira" (Khmelnytsky), aimed at services for village children in particular.

  
Antonina Korchynska
Antonina Korchynska

Antonina Korchynska, Head of the Khmelnytsky Fund of Social Protection and Rehabilitation of Handicapped Persons from Childhood, mother of a child with birth defects, told about achievements of the fund in creating a chain of services, aimed at children with special needs further support ("School of Life" and Daycare Center for Disabled Youth).

The key moment of the conference was the presentation of the first Ukrainian edition of "Small Steps" early intervention program (elaborated by Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia), carried out by Lyubov Yevtushok (OMNI-Net Head of the Board), who indicated that this program is extremely useful both for specialists and parents upbringing children with special needs; and it was especially pleasant to present its first Ukrainian edition.

Publishing the Ukrainian "Small Steps" edition became possible due to efforts of the OMNI-Net and the Ukraine Special Needs Orphanages Fund (Virginia, USA).

At the end of the conference each participant received a set of "Small Steps" books for use in everyday activities of their organizations.

Lyubov Yevtushok presenting "Small Steps" early intervention program
Lyubov Yevtushok presenting
"Small Steps" early
intervention program
 
Distributing "Small Steps" booklets
Distributing "Small Steps"
booklets
 

In order to highlight the course of the conference and discussed crucial problems Khmelnytsky oblast television dedicated a special report of social program "Metronome".

The conference has become another step in raising efforts of the community in delivering effective aid to children with impairments and ensuring possibilities for their best development, as well as the important means of sharing the experience of specialists from different regions and further development of early intervention models in Ukraine.

Date of report: March 29, 2007



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