Dad, mum, we are with you!

UNICEF continues to equip developmental counselling units intended for children with developmental difficulties and disabilities and their families

04 March 2024
vas razvojna savetovalista
UNICEF Srbija/2017/Vaš

Belgrade, 26 February 2024 – Every year, in Serbia, 60,000 preschool-age children and their families need support in overcoming developmental risks, disabilities and difficulties. Developmental delays in children are not detected early enough, causing families to waste a lot of time searching for appropriate support. It is of key importance that children with developmental risks receive support on time, because with timely inclusion in an early intervention programme, about 70 of children can compensate for developmental delays and catch up to their generation before they start school.

“When you are the parent of a child with autism or another developmental difficulty, you very often face judgement around you, both by complete strangers and some people close to you. When the paediatrician referred us to the Developmental Counselling Unit, we already knew there was a possibility of an autism diagnosis, but were somehow hoping it would not come to that. It was right there in the Developmental Counselling Unit that we found our safest place, where our child received support from outside the family for the first time, the freedom to be who he is, the opportunity to learn and develop at his own pace, not the one imposed on him by his environment and society. For us, that meant laying a strong foundation for further development of the entire family and the empowerment due to which we today know that our child is not “less” than others, that being different is not necessarily bad“, said Biljana Vasković, the mum of a boy with an autism spectrum disorder.

The success of early intervention services relies on support from paediatricians, psychologists, speech therapists, special education teachers, social workers and other professionals, through home visits to the family, as well as on the work of kindergarten teachers. Also of key importance to parents are parenting schools, where they learn to support their child’s development through greater involvement in family and peer activities, to cope with challenging situations, to take care of themselves and to strengthen and foster partner relationships.

UNICEF, in cooperation with the relevant ministries in charge of health, education and social care, is working to expand the network of developmental counselling units. where teams of trained professionals provide support to children with developmental delays and their parents. Last year alone, 3,360 children received support for early detection of developmental delays and early interventions. In Subotica, Kraljevo, and in Rakovica, we refurbished and completely equipped developmental counselling units that have been fully capacitated to work in the field as well, and family-oriented early intervention services have been fully implemented in as many as 19 towns and municipalities.

razvojna savetovalista vas 2017
UNICEF Srbija/2017/Vaš

This year, the plan is for us to provide existing developmental counselling units in Niš, Čačak, Šabac, Kragujevac, Novi Pazar, Zaječar, Sremska Mitrovica, Leskovac and Kikinda with vehicles that professionals will use to regularly visit families and children. Such visits enable all children to receive support and learning opportunities, because the family environment is the most natural environment for every child, and parents are thereby empowered to rely on their own strengths and capabilities.

In Užice, Pirot, Valjevo, Smederevo, Bor and Jagodina, we plan to form new teams that will work with children and families in need of support and, in doing so, enable all children to have equal opportunities to thrive.

For parents and children with developmental difficulties and disabilities, waiting is not an option. UNICEF is calling on citizens and companies in Serbia to join the campaign to support children with developmental difficulties and disabilities and their parents by donating to account no. 160-666-18, purpose of payment 0222 – Dad, mum, we are with you.

The raised donations will be used to purchase furniture and didactic aids, assistive and digital technologies, as well as vehicles that professionals will use to conduct regular visits to children and their families.

Media contacts

Jadranka Milanovic
Communication Officer
Tel: + 381 11 3602 104
Tel: +381 63 336 283


Prisutni smo u više od 190 zemalja i teritorija, a kroz sve što radimo promovišemo prava i dobrobit dece, posebno one koja su najugroženija i isključena. U potpunosti se finansiramo od dobrovoljnih priloga pojedinaca, država i vlada, fondacija i kompanija.

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