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During 15 years, the Chisinau-based Center “Voinicel” has provided free early intervention services that include interdisciplinary and diagnostic services, assessment of the development of children and counseling and assistance services for families that raise children with special educational needs. This is the first center that instituted early intervention services in the country. When it was opened in 2003, it served several beneficiaries, but now offers support to 200 families in Chisinau. Hundreds of families from outside the municipality of Chisinau come to “Voinicel” because they do not enjoy such services at the place of domicile. The authorities, with the support of nongovernmental organizations, aim to extend the early intervention services nationwide and “Voinicel” is an important partner in the process.
In an interview for IPN, acting executive director of the Center “Voinicel” Ala Cojocaru said the Center serves families with children younger than three who suffer from cerebral palsy, autism, communication disorders, the Down syndrome and other development delays. The Center’s specialists assess the intellectual, social-emotional and motor development of children, their adaptive and communication abilities and develop for them individual empowerment programs that include kineto-therapeutic, logopedic, psycho-pedagogical, educational and other kinds of sessions. The parents are helped to better interact with the children and to recognize their needs. After the age of three, when the children are not eligible for the Center’s services, the families are referred to preschool education institutions.
In connection with the initiative to extend the early intervention services nationwide, the specialists of the Center “Voinicel” last year staged initiation and training courses for dozens of pediatricians, child neurologists, kinetotherapists and rehabilitologists as well as specialists in primary assistance from different districts of the country. The trainings will continue as the Center “Voinicel” signed a memorandum of cooperation to this effect with the Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, valid until 2022.
The Center will offer methodological, informational and didactic assistance in developing early intervention services at the national level and also consultative and methodological support to specialists who will initiate this type of services at the local level. The Center’s specialists will also examine and assess the development of children younger than three with referrals from national public health facilities.
Ala Cojocaru said it is very important for the doctors who attend the trainings to be able to develop early intervention services at the local level, in the districts from which they come. These services should be accessible locally. Today the families do not benefit everywhere from early intervention services, even when the children have a determined disability, not speaking about the situations when a developmental delay is only suspected. In communities, they often resort to medical treatment to the detriment of occupational therapies. In such conditions, it is very hard to develop the child’s sensor, motor, communication and other disabilities. The extension of early intervention services at the national level will be beneficial to parents and will contribute to changing society’s perception of children with special needs and their families.
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