Early Intervention Educational and Social Rehabilitation Center for Special Needs Children "Pahinets" Opening
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Early Intervention Educational and Social Rehabilitation Center for Special Needs Children "Pahinets" was Established in Rivne

Lyubov Yevtushok
OMNI-Net Medical Coordinator

Special needs children are often associated with specialized institutions isolated from society. Social changes freeing a way to ordinary infant and nursery schools for special needs children occur too slowly. Nevertheless when speaking about infancy or early childhood period - from birth to 3 years of age - virtually such children in Ukraine have no opportunity to receive rehabilitation based on early intervention programs including training sessions for parents, methodical consultations of educational specialists, physical therapy etc., as it is practiced worldwide.

Support given to special needs children should combine with "natural environment": home - family, infant school, kindergarten, school. In this context FAMILY is the core of the best early intervention programs. Parents are considered to be active partners in their child's care planning. Parental organizations of special needs children have special social direction. Cooperation of local governmental bodies, state nursery schools, NGO's and foundations, which base their activities on protection of special needs children rights, gives hope to greater success of reforms in social rehabilitation of special needs children.

On January 19, 2004 the inauguration of the Early Intervention Educational and Social Rehabilitation Center for Special Needs Children "Pahinets" established in the Rivne kindergarten #56 according to the Decree of the Head of Rivne City Executive Committee Mr. Victor Chayka took place. This was a significant event for all families with special needs children. Even more so, this Center is one of the first rehabilitation institutions of such kind in Ukraine.

Mrs. Svitlana Bohatyrchuk-Kryvko (left) and Mr. Valentin Kroka cutting off ceremonial ribbon
Mrs. Svitlana Bohatyrchuk-Kryvko (left) and Mr. Valentin Kroka
cutting off ceremonial ribbon

The rehabilitation program of the Center is based upon early intellectual stimulation and reduction of mental subnormality programs implementation. They imply beginning of rehabilitation from the first weeks and months of a special needs child's life. Another characteristic feature of the Center is that all principal directions of its activities are developed in cooperation with Rivne Oblast NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children". Thus Care Rada is to be created to promote cooperation of parental organizations, educational and health care establishments, Rivne State Humanitarian University and Informational Resource OMNI-Centers of the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program.

Establishing of the Center has become a reality due to cooperation of Rivne oblast and municipal state administrations with the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program and NGO's - Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects and Rivne Oblast NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children". Another important step was the "Legal Support of Disabled Children in Rivne Oblast" project won under the grant competition announced by the US Embassy in Ukraine and realized by the Rivne Oblast Charity "Leleka" Foundation to Help Prevent Birth Defects. US Ambassador in Ukraine Mr. Carlos Pasqual congratulated on successful realization of the project.

We recognize the critical contributions made by Mr. Pasqual and the USAID to the realization of the above. Taking into account their support given to the initiatives of the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program and to the realization of preventive initiatives concerning birth defects and child developmental problems, Rivne State Administration and Rivne Mayor Mr. Victor Chayka invited Mrs. Nancy Godfrey (Director the USAID Office of Health and Social Transition) and Olena Radziyevska (Project Manger of the USAID Office of Health and Social Transition (USAID, Kyiv, Ukraine) to participate in the Center inauguration ceremony.

Parents - members of Rivne Oblast NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children" together with their children participated in the Center inauguration ceremony. Representatives of Rivne State Administration, Health Care Administration, Department of Education, Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program, Rivne State Humanitarian University, Rivne Orphanage, religious organizations, sponsors, mass media, and representatives of the Volyn Oblast Children's NGO "Child's Development Center" were among guests.

Mr. Vitaliy Novak, Head of Rivne Department of Education (left) and Mrs. Tamara Savchuk, Head of the “Pahinets” Center
Mr. Vitaliy Novak, Head of Rivne Department of Education (left)
and Mrs. Tamara Savchuk, Head of the "Pahinets" Center

The Head of the Rehabilitation Center Mrs. Tamara Savchuk, the Head of the Rivne Department of Education Mr. Vitaliy Novak, the Deputy Chief of Rivne Oblast Rada Mr. Valentyn Kroka, the Deputy Chief of Rivne Mayor on Humanitarian and Social Matters Mrs. Svitlana Bohatyrchuk-Kryvko, the President of the Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects Prof. Ihor Barylyak, the Head of Pre-School Pedagogics and Psychology Chair of Rivne State Humanitarian University and scientific adviser of the "Early Stimulation of Orphans by Students-Volunteers" project Prof. Tamara Ponimanska, the Chief Physician of Rivne Oblast Clinical Medical Diagnostic Center, the Head of Rivne Oblast Charity "Leleka" Foundation to Help Prevent Birth Defects Dr. Ihor Shumlyansky, the Deputy Chief of Rivne Health Care Administration Dr. Mariya Dumanovska, the Head of Rivne Oblast NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children" Mr. Victor Khomyuk, a representative of Ukrainian Christian Mission "Peace Guard" Mr. Oleh Abaturov and others congratulated all participants of the Center inauguration ceremony on this significant event.

In their greetings all of them stressed the new opportunities to realize children's rights for prompt diagnosis of developmental problems and access to early intervention programs starting from the first days of life. Representatives of Rivne Oblast Rada and Rivne City Executive Committee assured parents, teachers and guests that local governmental bodies would support further activities of the Center.

The symbol of the Center  - sprout ("pahinets" in Ukrainian) was placed in the center of the hall as a symbol of hope and belief
The symbol of the Center - sprout ("pahinets" in Ukrainian)
was placed in the center of the hall as a symbol of hope and belief

The Head of Preschool Pedagogics and Psychology Chair of Rivne State Humanitarian University Prof. Tamara Ponimanska would be a scientific adviser of the Center. Among other things she emphasized that helping special needs children sustains our civilization and we work together to help less fortunate children find themselves in society.

Victor Khomyuk (Head of the Rivne Oblast NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children") expressed sincere gratitude for support given by Svitlana Bohatyrchuk-Kryvko (Deputy Chief of Rivne Mayor on Humanitarian and Social Matters), Vitaliy Novak (Head of Rivne Department of Education), Prof. Wladimir Wertelecki (Director of the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program), Prof. I. Barylyak (President of the Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects), Karen Feathers (President of the Ukraine Special Needs Orphanages Fund, Inc), Rivne Informational Resource OMNI-Center team, Lyubov Yevtushok (UABDP Medical Coordinator), Igor Shumlyansky (Head of Rivne Oblast Charity "Leleka" Foundation to Help Prevent Birth Defects.

In his speech President of the Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects Prof. Ihor Barylyak underlined that opening of the "Pahinets" Center was a crucial event for all families with special needs children and its significance was not limited by the boundaries of single city or oblast. He informed the participants of the inauguration ceremony that NGO "Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects" had got a copyright for Ukrainian translation and adaptation of "Small steps" - an early intervention program for children developed in Macquarie University (Sidney, Australia) - one of the world's best early stimulation programs to be introduces in Ukraine and in the "Pahinets'" Center in particular. He stressed that parental organizations in Lutsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Donetsk and other regions of Ukraine would like to follow the experience of Rivne parents.

Ukrainian-American birth defects Program and the Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects would promote the implementation of early intervention program for special needs children in Rivne oblast and grant informational support. In order to facilitate parents' communication with the UABDP Informational Resource OMNI-Center the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program granted a fax machine to the Early Intervention Educational and Social Rehabilitation Center for Special Needs Children "Pahinets".

The Deputy Chief of Rivne Health Care Administration Dr. Mariya Dumanovska, in her turn, heartily congratulated parents, teachers and guests on the Center opening. She mentioned one more significant event we expect in the near future - the opening of the Medical and Social Rehabilitation Center for Children with Organic Lesions of CNS.

The Head of Rivne Oblast Charity "Leleka" Foundation to Help Prevent Birth Defects Ihor Shumlyansky pointed out that the Center was established due cooperation of oblast and city state administrations with the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program, NGO's (Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects and Rivne Oblast NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children"), and also the "Legal Support of Disabled Children in Rivne Oblast" project realized by the Rivne Oblast Charity "Leleka" Foundation to Help Prevent Birth Defects. Ihor Shumlyansky wished parents and the staff of the Center strong health and success.

Ukraine Special Needs Orphanages Fund (Karen Feathers, the President) confirmed readiness to support Rivne Oblast NGO "Parental Association of Special Needs Children" and the "Pahinets" Center and granted visual teaching devices for the Center.

The Deputy Chief of Rivne Orphanage, Rivne Oblast Rada Deputy Vira Kobylyanska greeted the participants of the inauguration ceremony and wished all parents and teachers success in their important activities.

The opening ceremony was a bright holiday for children and parents. The atmosphere of happiness was created by young actors - talented children of the kindergarten, special needs children. Happy smiles shined upon children's faces, and anxious looks of parents changed with smiling eyes and happy hearts.

During the greeting concert
During the greeting concert

The support of local state administration, City Executive Committee and many Ukrainian and foreign partners ready to help our children gives us hope for further cooperation and development.

Date of report: January 27, 2004



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