August was marked for Zakarpattia by holding the first summer school "Resource Mother". The co-organiser of the socially important event was the Charitable Organisation "Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattia", which together with the Transcarpathian Regional Centre for Social Services, NGO "Society for the Protection of Persons with Disabilities "Nadiya" and the Regional Representation of Parental Movement the All-Ukrainian Forum "Parents for Early Intervention" involved 15 mothers from different parts of the region. They all raise children with disabilities.
The idea of the event is to implement new forms of work with parents of special children, giving them a resource of confidence and ability. For three days, the trainers helped the participants to overcome internal barriers, relax, hear professional answers to topical questions, share their own experiences and gain new ones. Among the forms of interaction, there were presentations, thematic films with further discussion, group work, joint exercises, etc. Effective forms and methods for maintaining parental mental health have also been tested. A photo session for the participants by a talented photographer Yevhen Kudryavtsev was an equally pleasant part of the meeting.
The first summer school was very lucky with the coaches. Oksana Vynyarska, a systemic family psychotherapist, a lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University, a specialist in the certificate program of Medical, Psychological and Social Support of Persons with Special Needs (MPSS), and Yulia Boyko, head of the Emmaus Centre (UCU, Lviv), a social pedagogue, pedagogical head of the MPSS (UCU) program, mother of a girl with Down syndrome.
"It is important for us that parents of special children in Zakarpattia have the resources that will allow them not only to fulfil their daily responsibilities but also to solve urgent problems together, uniting in a prosperous community. This experience is a way to be heard, which is a very important aspect. I think that the participants of such events can become a kind of voice of change needed in the field of medical, social, educational services in Ukraine, because we must have a truly inclusive country - not only on paper but also in everyday life," said the director of CAMZ Nataliya Kabatsiy.
During the first meeting, the participants discussed the needs which, as it turned out, unite parents of children with disabilities. Among the priorities are the availability of institutions at the place of residence with competent specialists, an individual approach to a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the child, in particular, in providing technical means, the organisation of inclusive camps for children, social dormitories, providing qualified support for special children at school, the activation of volunteers, quality improvement of legal, medical, social support, the development of services for supported living and employment, the introduction of the Invasport system, as well as constant information support as a guarantee of a civilised dialogue with society and the authorities, the integration of children with disabilities and their needs into the domestic policy agenda at central and local levels.
The lack of such meetings, the positive feedback from the training participants, the joint development of requests for further cooperation determined the intention to make the event an annual one, expanding both the audience and the range of issues to be addressed.