15. 01. 2016 Philanthropy

We have started the 4th year of the Mobile Educator programme

Special education teachers will be visiting families with hearing-impaired children throughout the whole year.

President Andrej Kiska declared the 4th year of the Mobile Educator programme open

The second January week was devoted to 160 children and adults who met in the Mountains of the High Tatras to launch the next year of the Mobile Educatorprogramme. Throughout the whole year, 13 mobile educators will regularly visit 56 children with hearing loss directly in their homes and teach their parents practical games, exercises and methodsthat will help them in the best way possible to overcome their handicap. Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska opened the new year of the Mobile Educator programme.

Eager to do anything for the best development of their child

40 families in total took part in the opening ceremony in the city of Poprad. Non-hearing parents and children were among those taking part. All participants were connected to each other through their children as well as their efforts to do everything possible for the further progress of their child to make sure their children receive the best help and support. During the three-day programme the participants of the meeting attended a lot of events. They had the opportunity to share their experiences, get to know new people and to discuss their circumstances (their destinies). They met their mobile educators and established goals for their mutual cooperation. The mobile educators showed the families various games and activities which parents and children can do at home without specialists. They also provided them with a lot of material and tools which help to develop the child’s skills.

One of the participants, the mother of little Šimon, talked about the experience she gained at the January meeting in Poprad: “After I found out about my son’s hearing loss, I avoided the hearing-impaired child webpage as well as their Facebook page, even though I was already registered there. I refused to accept this fact and deep in my heart I was still hoping for change so I denied the truth. At the meeting in Poprad I realised that I do not need to be afraid of talking about this situation and that I can open myself to people. Thanks to this opportunity, I have a different opinion on many issues and these wonderful people, with whom I spent a weekend, encouraged me to realise that I can manage everything with a smile on my face. I am grateful for finding my amazing ‘second family’.”

The parents of hearing-impaired children listened to inspiring life stories

Participants in the meeting in Poprad had the opportunity to experience the so-called “live books”. Live books represent interesting and inspiring people who share their story for a group of 5 to 6 people for 15 minutes. Readers of these live libraries listen to stories and are invited to ask questions as well. The live books featured, for instance, two successful non-hearing adults, a blind opera singer from the United States and also some of the families who have taken part in previous rounds of the Mobile Educator programme.

What are the benefits of mobile educators?

Early intervention is of utmost importance,particularly when dealing with children with any kind of disability. The first three years are the most decisive phase in the child’s life. During these three years, a child develops and forms the most. When a child with hearing loss is born, their parents do not always know what exactly they should do. This is completely understandable as 90% of dumb children are born to parents with normal hearing. For many of them, it is the first time they will have come into contact with a person with hearing disability.

The Mobile Educator programme is aimed exactly at this early period. Special education teachers carry out early intervention directly in the home. They come in the household of a family and engage with the child and its parents in their own home environment. This possibility provides an enormous advantage for a family. They do not need to travel to the doctor’s office and are independent of doctor’s office hours. A child is calm in their home environment and working with them is much easier compared to at the doctor’s. As the parents are at home as well, they feel more comfortable than at the different kinds of hospitals or doctor’s offices. According to specialists, the proper care of these children at an early age can improve the development of their whole life and has an impact on their successful insertion and integration into society in adulthood. This can be verified by families who have utilised the help of our mobile educators so far.

The Mobile Educator programme is funded by the Slovak Telekom Endowment Fund, established by the Pontis Foundation. 83 families joined the programme within the first three years of its existence. €75 000 has been allocated to the current fourth year of the programme.

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