A meeting of Autism Europe member-countries will be held on June 17 at 16:00, during which Ukraine will present the unique Autism Unity Ukrainian-American project. Director of Communications of the ‘Child with Future’ Foundation and co-founder of the initiative Evgeniya Panichevska will present the Autism Unity platform and speak about the main idea, goals, and successes of the project.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Autism Europe for extending the boundaries of assistance to war-affected people in Ukraine and for supporting the initiative, which will help to create a base of centers and European professionals to work with children from internally displaced families from Ukraine. For basic information about Autism Unity, please see the Helping Autistic People in Ukraine section on the Autism Europe website at this link.
About Autism Unity
Autism Unity is an effort to help and support parents of autistic children affected by war. Autism Unity is a platform to accomplish the tasks of:
assist families in finding professionals and support services to engage with their children in different parts of the world;
To create a database to automate the process of finding families who need help and professionals who provide it;
to raise funds to pay specialists who are unable to work on a volunteer basis;
Organize training for parents.
The initiative’s website provides forms for families, professionals, organizations, and volunteers where anyone who needs help and wants to help can enter their information and get feedback. At the moment, the database of Autism Unity has more than 100 registered families and more than 60 professionals, which are located both in Ukraine and abroad.
“At the moment, the small number of registered professionals in the database, the continuing movement of people, and changes in circumstances do not allow full automation of the process of finding professionals by families and vice versa, so we have to do it manually – contact families, update information and initial requests, communicate, monitor, adjust, look for professionals, centers, sometimes even doctors, etc. The process is very complicated by the severity of getting feedback from families – whether they found a specialist or whether classes were appropriate, why they stopped cooperating, what else is needed, etc.
Most of the help is in online classes, in which we actively try to involve Ukrainian parents. We explain the need for parents to be present at the classes with their child for the first time, for professionals to work with parents, and then to involve the child. Of course, not all children can learn online, but parents need to master all possible forms of assistance, given the difficulties with the availability of Ukrainian and Russian-speaking professionals in the actual place of the child”, – says Evgeniya Panichevska.
Now the initiative desperately needs human resources (volunteers), but the most important thing is a constant replenishment of the database with Ukrainian and Russian-speaking specialists and educational and rehabilitation institutions, which can help Ukrainian families with autistic children who have been internally displaced.
Read more about Autism Unity in the new May 2022 issue of Autism Today at this link.