For any child, and especially for children with disabilities, the one-on-one relationship between the child and an adult in a family environment is crucial for their development and to fulfil their potential. When placed in an institution, not only does the child fail to develop, irreversible damage is done causing additional impairments. A mild intellectual disability more often accelerates when there is a lack of love and emotional stimulation. A mild physical disability often develops into atrophy, if the child is bed ridden and lacks physical stimulation. A recent Ministry of Labour and Social Policy commitment has put a stop to all new admissions of children in state run care institutions like the Special Institution Demir Kapija. With support of partners such as the European Union, the initiative puts forward a radical transformation plan to ensure children, currently in state care, are raised in a close to family environment. To help this transition, a UNICEF supported expert in Intensive Interaction therapy is supporting a team of professionals to ensure the short time spent in state care is dignified and to prepare children for a life they deserve in a loving family.
Intensive interaction therapy is very simple, yet it gives immediate results. It develops the fundamental of communication such as listening, paying attention, vocalization, facial expression, taking turns in exchange of communication and eye contact. According to UNICEF supported expert “Good interaction looks like a dance”. UNICEF supported therapist and trainer in Intensive Interaction, Cath Irvine and a child in the Special Institution Demir Kapija interact through dance-like body movements.