In Ukraine, there are many problems associated with an insufficiently developed legal framework and methodological support, although there are also success in this field. For children with ASD, there is a great need for a variety of learning models to enable them to exercise their right to receive an education that matches their talents. Ultimately, their potential must be realized. Of course, this cannot be solved by administrative methods only or simply by including children with special educational needs in the class.
The organization of education for special children should be carried out in the ratio of types of special education and their integration into the general educational environment that meets special educational needs. Individual and/or distance learning at home does not meet the needs of children with ASD. Lack of impressions, limited external contact, and a constant familiar home environment all contribute to secondary autism. Recently developed methods of adapting the school environment and the learning process to the capabilities and difficulties of autistic children largely overshadow their behavioral problems. Using such methods, the special child can become ‘normal and ordinary’, but at the same time he must be able to inherit the example of adequate social behavior of other children. The main task of the education of a special child is to help in a gradual and consistent transition to a more complex and dynamic learning environment.
The most promising school system for a child with ASD will be gradual, individually developed and expertly supported integration into a group of children with less communication problems.
The methods of helping children with ASD should be maximally used in the process of individual psychological and educational support. The main point is to integrate the child for schooling into a group of children with higher communication abilities.
What is the situation with inclusion for autistic parents in Ukraine now? Inna Sergienko, founder of the INGO ’Child with future’, says:
“We are trying to solve this problem, and the Ministry of Education is more than ever meeting us halfway. They involve us in writing laws, they consider us experts. There are problems with the Ministry of Finance, they do not provide adequate funding for an teacher assistant in a kindergarten. Rehabilitation should be carried out as early as possible, it is effective. For a child with autism, preparation for school or kindergarten should begin one year earlier. There is a bureaucratic procedure, PMPC (psychological, medical and pedagogical consultation), which is required for funding. They also know which educational institutions are ready to accept such children. You need to collect a lot of documents, and even all refusals should be collected in writing. And you need to be ready to go to court. Thanks to the efforts of the Foundation, the term ‘assistant’ has already appeared, he who helps a child with autism and knows how to organize and adapt the educational process.
The algorithm of the parents’ actions should be as follows. First they need to have a diagnosis, then go to the PMPC, where they are being sent to a kindergarten or school. If the parents do not agree with the conclusion, they can apply to the PMPC at a higher level – at the city, regional, state level – and challenge the conclusion of the PMPC. If the parents do not agree with the designated educational institution, then they themselves must go to the desired school or kindergarten, write an application or join the electronic queue. A school, for example, must submit an appropriate document with a resolution to the district education department in order to receive funding for such a child, which is 2.5 times more than for an ordinary child. Unfortunately, many schools spend this money on their own needs, not on services for the child, as a result, the teacher is not motivated, and it all comes down to individual learning at home.
But such a child lacks socialization, which is very important for children with autism. Parents have to collect documents and go to courts. In small towns it is more difficult; an intolerant environment is created around such families.
But in America at one time, too, no one paid attention until 9 thousand applications were collected. The state is happy with everything, as long as external irritants do not point them to the problem. We must be such an external irritant. And this diagnosis cannot be hidden, it will become noticeable anyway.
The only way to help a child is to actively demand the protection of his rights, right to be educated. Socialization is important. Autism is a social disease, a person does not contact society the way everyone is used to it. Socialization is the way out. The more a person is in society, the more he gets used to others, learns relationships.
We have opened a kindergarten for children with autism – https://childfuture.kiev.ua. We want to show that our children can be successful. We are actively engaged in lobbying the interests of children with autism at the state level, we are part of the working groups of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, we write laws. We also have a socialization studio.»