Children and young people with psychophysical development disorders

The Swedish organization "ERIKS Development Partner" in cooperation with the Belarusian partner - Charitable Public Association (CPA) "World without Borders" implements the project "Normalization. Integration. Equality".

The project contributes to reducing poverty and improving the quality of life of children and young people with psychophysical development disorders in accordance with their rights guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The project addresses the Millennium Development Goals in terms of eliminating the socio-medical, educational and qualification poverty. It promotes the integration of children and young people from house-boarding schools for disabled children and young people with disabilities (psychophysical development disorders) in society.

The fundamental direction of the project is to re-orientate the system of work of residential institutions for children and young people with disabilities from full life support to personality development and assistance in self-sufficient living.

In January 2005, the long-term Swedish-Polish-Belarusian project "Development of the alternative types of child care for children with psychophysical development disorders in the Republic of Belarus" started on the basis of the Bogushevsk house-boarding school for children with psychophysical development disorders. The goal of the project is to help children with PDD living in specialized house-boarding schools, their parents, people who are close to them - specialists of these institutions and local residents. Significant work is carried out to present new forms and methods of work to those who have taken the responsibility to care for children with a difficult fate.

Now CPA "World without Borders" cooperates with all house-boarding schools for disabled children with psychophysical development disorders in our country. The organization aims at changing the attitude of society towards people with development disorders and improving the quality of their life.

The WWB arranges the seminars for specialists and staff of house-boarding schools, open days for parents and relatives, purchases the necessary equipment, provides educational materials for the development of mental and physical activity of children and popularizes successful local and foreign experience in these fields.

Close cooperation of the organization with the administration and employees of house-boarding schools, constant contacts with children revealed the problems of children and young people with psychophysical development disorders, requiring immediate resolution. Particularly acute was the problem of self-realization and integration of this category of people in the society.

In this regard, since 2006 the CPA started the training program for children in house-boarding schools aimed at their adaptation for independent living. In the Bogushevsk house-boarding school for children with psychophysical development disorders an experimental house for independent living has been created. The main goal of the project is to prepare the children living in the house-boarding school for independent daily life and to give them the opportunity to live like everyone else.

Completion of the pilot project presupposes independent living and fair employment of young people with psychophysical development, their social adaptation and integration into society. And this means that these young men and women will live and feel themselves like true citizens of our country. The experience of the Independent Living Department project on the basis of the Bogushevsk house-boarding school was examined at the Republican Methodological Council under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus.

The project received a positive evaluation both from the institution itself and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection. The project allowed to distinguish the areas of responsibility of various actors in the intersectoral rehabilitation space and enhance the protection of the rights and interests of children and young people

with psychophysical development disorders and their successful normalization and integration. Moreover, it showed the need to introduce a program for the integration of disabled children and young people with disabilities and to open in other house-boarding schools similar departments and groups preparing for independent living.

The innovative project is implemented in close cooperation with public associations, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, local authorities, social services, specialized institutions for children and young people with psychophysical development disorders, general education institutions, local social services centers and families of children and young people. The created model focuses on a child or a young person with development disorders, his/her rights and needs.

The purpose of this project is to introduce and develop the model for the social adaptation of children living in house-boarding schools for disabled children and young people with psychophysical development disorders into active social work in the Republic of Belarus.

An ideal solution to the problem will be the return of a young person into society, the restoration of his/her legal capacity, full self-sufficiency and the maximum realization of his/her rights and opportunities. The aim of working with the family is to return the child from the house-boarding school to the family, regardless of whether the legal capacity is restored or not. Training in social skills will make it easier for parents to care for a child with special needs.

Children and young people with disabilities having more serious forms of diseases whose diagnosis will not allow them to live independently are also the participants of the project. Work with them is aimed at improving the quality of their lives, developing their personal potential, introducing alternative forms of work with children and young people with severe psychophysical diseases.

Primary target groups of the project:

• Children and young people living in house-boarding schools (including those who, due to a diagnosis, can’t live in Independent or Assisted Living departments);

• Graduates of Independent or Assisted Living departments;

• employees of house-boarding schools;

• administration of house-boarding schools.

Secondary target groups:

* The Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus, local authorities;

* Families of children living in the house-boarding schools;

* Other charitable groups, associations and funds.

The project involves working with all target groups aimed at achieving their close, sustainable, long-term interaction in the interests of successful normalization and integration, and thus promoting equal rights of children and young people with developmental disorders, living in house-boarding schools.

Each of the target groups, provided that the project is successfully implemented, will have a positive result: teachers will improve their qualifications, the family will improve their social status, new members will be included into the life of the society, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection will receive a ready and budget-saving model for the integration of disabled people living in residential institutions.

But the main beneficiary of the project are children and young people with psychophysical development disorders who live in house-boarding schools. The final expected effect of the project will be successful and sustainable normalization and integration, and as a result, the maximum realization of the rights, freedoms and opportunities for children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The project implementation requires the establishment and development of cooperation between the interested parties, in particular between governmental and non-governmental structures. All stakeholders (state, public and private) will participate in the project management process.

Project implementation shall go in the following directions:

* Work with specialists;

* Implementation of social adaptation model;

* Informational and integration campaign;

* Work with the graduates of the Departments of Independent Living and Accompanied Living.