On Friday, the week of education and training by Swiss specialists - partners of the NGO "Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattia" Henny Graf, Hana Kubinets, and Pius Schürch-Kunz finished. During five days, they have worked with students at the Faculty of Health and Physical Education of Uzhhorod National University.
The theoretical part of the training covered issues of legal guarantees for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, the regulation of insurance in case of disability, aspects of the humanistic concept of a man, the basics of social work and pedagogy, the specification of the duties of employees of institutions providing services to clients with disabilities. The presentation of the material took place in a discussion format, a binary presentation, with arguments based on real examples, with a reference to current regulatory documents.
The applied part of the course, represented, in particular, by game models of interactions, group, and individual tasks, social experiments, presentation of acquired knowledge and skills, was of special academic interest among students and practitioners who also joined the training. For example, students in micro-groups created unstable objects, the "viability" of which could only be ensured by joint efforts and through the development of various configuration options. Such practices, on the one hand, prove the value of communication, the ability not to give up when the task was not completed successfully for the first time. On the other hand, lecturer Henny Graf emphasised that it is important to have a starting strategy when working with persons with disabilities because they have no margin for trial and error.
Practices - that included the development of skills in providing care and accompanying people with disabilities, as well as an approbation on the personal experience the example of integration into an inclusive environment - were in high demand. The role-playing game provided that some students had the status of a person with a disability, while others helped them to ensure mobility and inclusion in urban conditions. Some of the institutions with which the participants interacted during the experiment did not meet the criterion of disability. Such a social experiment proved that the urban environment, first of all, ordinary citizens, are not quite ready to interact with the special needs of a person - that was not everyone who slowed down at the pedestrian crossing, step aside when entering the premises, or hold the door ... Therefore, support and help of the assistant turned out to be very necessary, and the students learned in practice what it consists of and what skills it requires.
In addition to practical blocks, during classroom work, students received homework, with the control of which every new school day began. The passing of the exam marked the result of the training course, and the students successfully coped with it.
“I am pleased with the quality of students' training, perseverance, initiative, and the level of communication in the student community and between students and teachers. I often had nothing to add after meaningful student reports. These are caring young people who know why they master such specialties that society needs,” summed up Henny Graf her impressions of working in Uzhhorod.
According to Hana Kubinets, the functions of certain specialists who work with people with disabilities in Ukraine and Switzerland may differ, but they are united by a common mission - to make life easier for their clients, create a barrier-free environment and conditions for their socialisation, to mediate between their needs and the sphere of public policy that is responsible for meeting these needs. Pius Schürch-Kunz added that a foreign experience is a tool that can help the Ukrainian social sphere to go through the path of reforms faster and more efficiently, and Swiss experts are always ready to help in mastering new methods and techniques of working with vulnerable segments of the population.
Training modules with the participation of Swiss specialists at Uzhhorod National University are an important part of the integration of the domestic educational community into the European space and a guarantee of the implementation of the goals of the tripartite agreement between Uzhhorod National University, CAMZ, and Parasolka Association, namely the creation of new educational conditions for training of specialists who will provide quality educational, medical, social and rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities.
It has to be reminded that in August this year, during a meeting in Uzhhorod, representatives of the Charitable Organisation "Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattia" and the Faculty of Health and Physical Education of Uzhhorod National University with the support of Parasolka Association (Switzerland) agreed to organise a series of practical cycles and lecture courses from Swiss specialists for students of the faculty who are trained in specialties 016 "Special Education" and 227 "Physical Therapy. Occupational therapy". In October this year, more than 20 students of these spheres together with their teachers visited the Vilshansky Orphanage and the Social Abilitation and Rehabilitation Centre "Parasolka" with a study visit. Later, according to the schedule of the educational process, there will be held an internship for future specialists.