During the project 5 social inclusion measures were created/improved:
1. The pilot model of organization developed and adopted by both partners.
By using analysis of education, rehabilitation, relaxation, social and other services accessibility and partners as well as other countries experience, the pilot model of the perfect organization providing teaching and social integration services for children and youth with special needs was developed. The model contains 3 parts: 1) examined experience of other countries; 2) analyzed situation of both countries (LT and LV) – best practices, needs and deficiencies in the provision of teaching and social services; 3) prepared teaching and social services guidelines (manual). The created pilot model serves as a manual for such schools as Kaišiadorys Saint Faustina school – multifunctional centre, Viduskurzeme primary school – development centre and other similar organizations in order to improve the efficiency of such organizations’ networks. Institutions using the developed pilot model in their activities, are able to increase regular and equal access to education, social care, etc. for children and youth with special needs. The created documents can be found at the end of this article.
In addition to the developed model, a Service monitoring and quality assurance system (link http://survey.viduskurzeme.lv/) was developed during the project implementation and is available in Latvian and Lithuanian languages. This service monitoring system can measure the benefits for students with special need and their parents, who receive improved education, rehabilitation, social and other services in schools. The designed system can produce reports of service quality. The collected data determines which processes of the school/organization can still be improved, thereby improving the social and educational services provided to the target group. This system is accessible to all interested schools/other organizations which are willing to improve their services (including social services) provided for the target group.
All above-mentioned outputs of the Project are owned by project partners, they will be responsible for sustainable and subsequent use.
2. International summer camps organized.
During the project 3 international summer camps for students of LP and PP2 organizations were organized. In total 2 camps were organized in Kaišiadorys, Lithuania: 5-days summer camp on 10–14.08.2020 and 3-days summer camp on 26–28.08.2020, also, 1 3-days summer camp was organized in Kuldiga, Latvia on 29.08–02.09.2021. In each camp, 33 participants participated (72 unique children). These camps helped children to develop their social skills, expand worldviews, experience a different country and its culture, and find new friends.
3. Student exchange programs organized.
During the project 3 10-days long student exchange programs for students of LP and PP2 organizations were organized. 2 exchange programs were organized in Kaišiadorys, Lithuania: on 01–10.10.2019 and on 13–22.09.2021, also, 1 exchange program was organized in Kuldiga, Latvia on 24.08–02.09.08.2020. In total 30 participants participated – 10 persons in each exchange program. These student exchange programs as well as camps helped children to develop their social skills, expand worldviews, experience a different country and its culture, and find new friends.
4. Parents’ training organized.
During the project 3 cycles of parents training were organized. 2 cycles were organized by LP and 1 cycle by PP2. One cycle consisted ~30 hours of training for parents. In each cycle 16 persons participated and gained knowledge. Parents are significant contributors to the development of their children. They are the primary caretakers, managers, behavior models, disciplinarians, and agents of socialization and change for their children. Project partners were willing to train parents of children with disabilities to become co-teachers and co-therapists. This training focused on identifying types of stressors, identifying coping mechanisms and providing ways to incorporate them into everyday life, and the importance of good communication. This training provided each parent with a positive training experience that gave them the tools necessary to navigate through systems and advocate for their child with special needs. It provided families with a brief overview of how to find support for their child, find information and services, find ways to pay for services and helped them start thinking about the future. This training was geared to help parents map out the next steps for their child and family. 24 from Kaišiadorys Saint Faustina school-multifunctional centre and 15 from Viduskurzeme primary school – development centre parents were involved in activities.
Due to COVID, part of the training was held remotely.
5. Personnel training organized.
During the project 3 cycles of personnel training were organized. 2 cycles were organized by LP and 1 cycle by PP2. One cycle consisted 60 hours of training for personnel. In each cycle participated 3-4 participants from each project partner’s organization. In total 21 persons participated in this training (3 training cycles for 7 persons). The aim of this training for personnel was to have highly qualified teaching staff possessing a profound level of theoretical and practical preparation, tolerant and empathic to those having special needs. As recent years have marked out the tendency in modern education for inclusive education, the necessity has appeared to train teachers for inclusive education. Therefore, some training subjects included lectures about inclusive education of children with special needs. In this regard, project partners have developed a program of training courses for personnel, where one training cycle consisted of 10 different subjects. Three groups of teachers and other staff participated in professional development training throughout the project. During training, professionals increased their knowledge of how to help children with special needs learn effectively and prepared them for adulthood and independent living. Due to COVID, the training was held remotely.
Establishment of the Senses clinic.
Modern and fully-equipped Senses clinic improves the concentration of children with special needs, focus attention, alertness, mobilization, creativity, social relations and communications, and general awareness of the surrounding world. The Senses clinic provides new ways of encouraging learning, motor development, cognitive development, language and social interaction skills of children and youth with special needs.
The project’s main output was achieved by the LP: new services* in the LP organisation were developed for students and people with special needs. Initially, it was planned to establish the Senses clinic but the title of „Senses Clinic“ was changed to „Therapy Studio“ due to the necessity to avoid medical terms and connotations in an educational institution. Also, new services were inclosed in the Schools Statute, approved by Kaišiadoriai district municipal council. Services can be found on LP website https://faustinosmokykladc.lt/, named “Therapy Studio” (initially titled „Senses Clinic“ and later to „Therapy Studio“) and are available for people with special needs.
* New services – various therapies, through which, the desire to communicate is developed, imagination and ingenuity are developed, tactical sensitivity is stimulated, concentration is developed, gross and fine motor skills are developed, and recognition of different shapes and colors is developed. Sensory sessions are held in the Therapy studio and various activities promote the feeling of joy and calmness, knowledge and self-confidence. Audio-visual, arts and movement therapy programs will improve well-being and develop the ability to calm down
Best practice guidance and model of the perfect organization:
MODEL PART I (LT)
MODEL PART I (LV)
MODEL PART II (LT)
MODEL PART II (LV)
MODEL PART III (LT)
MODEL PART III (LV)