November 08 2022
Three-year-old Alexander is growing up in his family, together with his twin brother. His grandmother constantly helps the parents in taking care of the child. At the first meeting with the family in late 2021, in conversation with us the three shared with us their worries and anxiety for the little boy’s condition.
Alexander’s daily life passes under the constant care of the mother and grandmother. The little boy does not speak, although he understands brief clear instructions to which he responds selectively. For days he plays the same games, with the same toys. He likes to watch children’s movies and enjoys the songs, but he is able to focus on them for just a brief amount of time. Both women say that Alex cries often, even for no apparent reason, has difficulty sleeping, both during the day and at night. He rejects any attempt to be hugged, does not seek or even avoids contact with his brother or an adult, and plays alone. He still drinks water from a pacifier, does not feed or dress himself, uses a diaper.
There was no room for hesitation – we enrolled Alexander in the half-day care of our Day Care Center, where a special educator, speech therapist and Early Childhood Development psychologist began working with him.
One of the main things we started with Alex was to teach him to follow rules, respect the boundaries of others and follow the regime in the common room of the Day Care Center. He began to comply with the snack time timing, and progressed in establishing hygiene habits and organizing his toys. Day by day the boy began to participate more and more calmly in the group activities and socializing activities – finger painting, making martenitsa, card making, Easter egg painting.
Our specialists conduct individual activities with much patience and attention. Sensory activities and games started to capture the child’s interest. He likes the sessions in the sensory room: he observes the water tower and keeps his attention on it for a longer time. He likes to look in the mirror. The steps on the sensory trail, at first timid and unsure, the play with the vibrating pillow, the soap bubble game – all of these activities awaken Alex’s senses and open the door to a new and unknown world for him.
One-to-one sessions with a special educator and speech therapist also have an encouraging result. Alexander is active – running, jumping, climbing, throwing toys and humming – increasingly beginning to respond to clear verbal instructions and playing for longer with one toy.
After several months of working with the boy, he began to establish a cooperative relationship with our specialist in a familiar activity. He is now greeting by offering his hand and making eye contact more and more boldly. His favourite games include those for fine motor skills – sorting cubes into a tower, assembling a train, stringing rings, finding small objects in a bowl of lentils or beans, pressing buttons of different colours.
From a child whose world was completely closed even to his parents, today Alexander is gradually making his first attempts to communicate with his surroundings. He takes his first small steps to connect with other people, to communicate, to express himself. Our specialists continue to work with the boy, encouraged also by his parents, who celebrate every small change as a holiday.
The daycare center team focuses their efforts on developing and reinforcing the boy’s skills in understanding and responding appropriately to simple instructions, reinforcing and building his ability to interac with adults, supporting and improving his skills to play and building a passive vocabulary. All of this enables Alexander to explore and interact with the world around him and share his own world. In addition to that his parents are increasingly more calm and confident in their care of him.
Thanks to funding from the Strong Start for Children with Special Needs project, part of Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria EAD’s (now KBC Bank Bulgaria) “Choose to Help” 2021 campaign, our specialists’ work with Alexander and dozens of other children with developmental difficulties continues and is bearing fruit. In the first 6 months of 2022 alone, 34 young children received developmental care through individual sessions and group activities at the Day Care Centre.
The thirteenth edition of the “Choose to Help” campaign supported the “Strong Start for Children with Special Needs” project of the Foundation, along with 14 other significant social, cultural and health causes.
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