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Children with disabilities develop positive human interaction

Children with disabilities benefit from the introduction of Intensive Interaction Therapy in Montenegro in 2009 

PODGORICA, February 9, 2010 –  Snezana Mijuskovic, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Vesna Vucurovic, Deputy Minister of Education and Noala Skinner, UNICEF Montenegro Representative will open the award ceremony for Montenegrin professionals and members of Association of parents of children with disabilities who have completed successfully the Intensive Interaction Practitioner Course in hotel “Podgorica” on February 9 at 10.30am. Cath Irvine, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, a founder member of the Intensive Interaction Institute in UK and UNICEF consultant, will present the results of her work on introducing intensive interaction therapy in “Komanski most”, Centre “1st June” and Day Care Centres in Bijelo Polje and Niksic during 2009.

Intensive interaction is a practical approach to interacting with children with disabilities that involves eye-contact, facial expression, physical contact and body language, as well as the expanding sequence of behaviours with the child. Research shows that children and adults with severe learning disabilities can start making progress if we use these spontaneous and natural teaching methods with them.

“The style is basic common sense: - being in a physical position for the child to see you, having an ‘I like being with you’ look on your face, scanning the child carefully for their signals, responding to everything the child does, maintaining good eye contact, using exaggerated facial expressions.” says Cath Irvine.
Cath’s work on intensive interaction in Montenegro is part of the overall UNICEF’s project to support alternatives to placing children in institutions and helping children to develop to their full potential.

“Research into the early years of a child’s life shows us that children flourish and develop if they have positive human interaction. The results achieved through the introduction of intensive interaction therapy in Montenegro have been remarkable. It has opened a door of communication and possibility for children with severe learning disabilities “says Noala Skinner UNICEF Montenegro Representative.

50 years of research indicate that children in institutions do not have the same chances to develop as children in a family environment. Child placement, in any kind of institution, should therefore be a last resort and should also be for the shortest time possible.

UNICEF’s approach is twofold: on the one hand to assist the Government with the ongoing child care reform process, by transforming the institutions which are in the most critical state. On the other hand, UNICEF focuses at the development of alternatives to institutional care, including the small family like homes for children with disabilities, where they can live and develop to their full potential.

For additional information, please contact:

Ms. Jelena Perović, Communication Officer, UNICEF Montenegro
Phone: +382 20 224 277 Ext. 3
Fax: +382 20 224 278
Mobile: +382 69 225 315





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