Caring For Children With Developmental Disorders In Ukraine
By Kaitlyn Nuebel
In the eight months since Russia’s first airstrike in Ukraine, more than 7.5 million Ukrainians have left their country as refugees and another six million others have become internally displaced persons (IDP). This dreadful choice is even more so for those families with special needs children. Artem, a five-year-old, is an example. Both options present additional risks to him and his family due to his condition.
Children with hyperactivity, delayed speech or slow mental development need constant supportive therapy and correctional classes to promote their psychological and emotional growth. In cases where treatment is delayed, their psychological and emotional states will deteriorate, hindering their overall development.
Many parents in and around the city of Lviv face financial stress and uncertainty from losing their homes or jobs. Without the means to find and pay for specialized care, they must watch their child’s psychological development regress.
Brother’s Brother Foundation provided a grant to the Center for Development and Socialization Sensitive Child Space at a hospital in the First Medical Union to fund therapy and programs that address the needs of Ukrainian children with developmental disorders. So far, the initiative has provided 14 children with a team of psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists who teach skills to help them become independent and feel empowered. In total, this amounts to 148 classes focused on topics including sensory integration, preparation for school, and speech therapy.
Though Artem has a big vocabulary, he struggles to put words together to form a sentence. At the Center for Development and Socialization Sensitive Child Space, he has received specialized care he cannot get at home.
“We help children adapt to everyday life. Without such places, the world would be harder for these kids,” an employee at the Center for Development and Socialization Sensitive Child Space said.