According to a survey carried out by the Center for Juridical Resources, a number of 72,000 children with disabilities was registered in Romania. All these children should be integrated in the school system and only 26,300 children out of the total number benefit from specialized speech therapy sessions in specialized centers, according to data provided by the Romanian Government to UNO- OHCHR on the right to education for people with disabilities. Furthermore, the 568 existing speech therapists in Romania nowadays should assist all these beneficiaries, this leading to a ratio of 1 specialist for 46 children.
There is clear indication that more specialized services for youth and children are needed at the level of our community; the demand outweighs by far the possibilities offered by the government for these category of beneficiaries. Moreover, due to a lack of funding and specialized staff, the youth care services provided by local authorities are poor not only in quantity but also in quality. As far as private practices are concerned, their contribution in the life of the beneficiaries is minimum, as they are neither consistent (lack of continuity) nor professional in most cases.
In June 2015 Pro Juventute decided to support Bună Ziua Copii din România (BZRO) financially for 3 years so that the requested money will be used to build the necessary ltd organization and enable the ltd organization to realize step by step a structural funding. By means of this project we have set ourselves to value the knowledge and skills acquired during a project financed by the EEA Grants in working with children with developmental delays by deciding upon and delivering services packages for the recovery and rehabilitation of the autistic children and of the speech disorders children.
The goal of our project is to have a start-up witch offer services for the recovery and rehabilitation of the autistic children and of the speech disorders children and the BZRO team the opportunity to practice entrepreneurial skills and to insure the sustainability of the services created by the organization on the market of the Romanian social services.
The intended results
Setting up BZRO ltd., market oriented, with clear marketing strategies, able to adapt to the needs of the clients and capable of self-supporting financially (partially complied with through the EEA Grants
Initial screening for 200 children aged between 3 and 7;
Providing ambulatory services in children’s own environment (at home or in school/kindergarten);
The Parental Skills Training
Creating the necessary infrastructure for BZRO to become a professional social service provider by covering new areas of specialization and using last minute or innovative approaches in the field.
Training of BZRO specialists (partially, only initial training)
Valorisation of experience in the project: creating a database with contact information of networks, support in testing the packages of services that will be launched on the market and relating the offer with the demand.
Training of BZRO specialists and volunteers (follow up studies/ internships for the specialists working with autistic children; training BZRO volunteers to become animators so that they can implement Play Day in schools and kindergartens; supervising BZ marketing and PR strategies; providing a refresh course for specialists who use VIT).
Developing the marketing strategy for BZRO ltd.: a marketing specialist to be recruited and instructed to develop instruments to be used in evaluating the market and in adapting BZRO ltd services/package to the dynamic of the local and national market of social services. The supply of therapy and recovery services for children with autism spectrum disorders
The results obtained (if already known)
The start-up team is made up: a coordinator, 2 specialists in working with ASD children, 1 clinician psychologist and 1 social worker. The experienced employees offered intervision to the less experienced employees (training on the job). No courses have been accessed, but 3 of the employees working during this period had experience in working with AST children.
13 volunteers have been chosen from the volunteers in the data base of the organization and they have benefitted from workshops that have given them information and work techniques for children with special needs.
A marketing plan has been created whose actions included: the content of the services packages, the advertising design, the creation of the online promotion tools.
- 3 services packages: the basic package, the intensive package and the intensive plus package
- a Facebook page, dedicated to this service, was created
- the promotion of the service on barladonline, the best known information platform from Barlad and the surrounding areas
- flyers, posters and leaflets were made and share
During the summer (June – August 2016), creative workshops have been organized for all the children from the community, workshops that were intended to be a way to test the parents’ interest in “buying” the services offered by BZRO, as well as of the organization’s ability to deliver paid quality services. The first clients for the therapy are children who attended the workshops and/or the parents who have heard/have been spoken about the services offered by the organization.
The autism children center is made up of 2 therapy rooms, a location meant for the reception/receiving clients, a bathroom and an office. The autism children center is friendly, colorful, offers privacy and includes a wide material base – games, toys, specialty books, tests packs. The center is open from Monday until Friday within the working hours 10:00 – 18:00, and on Saturday we organize socializing activities with parents and children or the meetings of the parents support group.
- 10 ASD children benefit from recovery services
- 5 children benefit from speech therapy
- A support group for the parents working offline and online was created
- A database with contact information of networks was created (institutions, neuropsychiatric hospitals, specialist doctors)