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Intensive interaction theraphy introduced in Montenegro's children institutions

PODGORICA, February 9, 2010 - ‘’I am a happy mother now.’’ With these words Rasema Hekalo mother of a 21 year old son with disability and member of Parents Association from Bijelo Polje started her addressing at the ceremony for the handing out of certificates on intensive interaction course completion held in Podgorica on Tuesday February 9th, 2010.

Rasema Hekalo and her son engaged in intensive interaction theraphy

"When my son was born, health workers advised me to place him in an institution but we refused. I have been waiting for 21 years for someone to show me how to work with my son and now they have. If this had happened 21 years ago what kind of person would he be now? Dr Ket thought me how to understand my son I am grateful for that. She is like a member of our family now.” said Rasema. 

And Dr Ket is Cath Irvine, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, a founder member of the Intensive Interaction Institute in UK and UNICEF consultant. Before the award ceremony she presented results of her work on introducing intensive interaction therapy in “Komanski most”, Centre “1st June” and Day Care Centers in Bijelo Polje and Niksic during 2009.

Cath Irvine, Intensive interaction trainer

Irvine explained teaching methods of intensive interaction:
‘’ 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’’ said Irvine.
Noala Skinner, UNICEF representative in Montenegro stated she is very proud of all trainees and also very grateful for their participation in the course. She noted that results of gained knowledge and skills are already visible and underlined that a lot of work still has to be done on the reform of child protection system for children with disabilities.
‘’There has been evidence of progress in almost every child, reflected in improved communication skills and improved maintenance of personal relationships. Intensive Interaction has opened the door to the wonder, joy and fulfillment of communication and relationships’’

Skinner, Mijuskovic and Vucurovic at the ceremony

Deputy of Minister of Labor and Social Welfare Snežana Mijušković explained that training increased number of people that would adequately take care of children with disabilities.

Vesna Vucurovic, deputy Minister of Education and Science said that lot of effort will be put into making it possible for children with special needs to be placed in home environment instead of state institutions. ‘’All this is happening in a very important moment where we are all working on preparation activities for transformation of special institutions into resource centers,’’ Vucurovic said.

12 professionals and members of Association of parents of children with disabilities who have completed successfully the Intensive Interaction Practitioner Course received the certificates after 4 months of training and evaluation. Parents were especially satisfied because they could finally get more from their everyday communication with their children.

First Montenegrin certified intensive interaction practitioners

Story by Momir Krivacevic



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