Children
 Slovakia
Project #11901

Andreas: Help for Autistic Families in Slovakia

by Pontis Foundation
Vetted
Main protagonist - Andrej
Main protagonist - Andrej

On 2nd April 2015 the unique documentary „So far so near" directed by Jaro Vojtek and produced by Autistic centre Andreas aired its premiere. Three out of the four main protagonists from the documentary are, or alternatively were, clients of centre Andreas. The documentary is available on DVD with English subtitles and it can be ordered through the centre Andreas.

 

Film trailer: https://vimeo.com/124255404

Film teaser: https://vimeo.com/124773895

 

As viewers of the documentary we become witnesses to a not so easy life of four families. We observe dramatic, and unpleasant situations, for example Andrew’s nerve-racking meltdown or Andrew’s undressing in the garden. We watch Jacob’s visit to the dentist with disbelief. At the same time we see moments of tranquility (breakfast, skyping, decorating a blossoming apple tree with Christmas decorations, tram journey, as well as a discussion on a cable way).  We see different degrees of the autistic disorder. We realize the failings of society, as well as the victories of individuals. We feel an abudance of love, and an inspirational as well exemplary approach to life.

 

The motion picture has four main protagonists and a couple of „co-stars“, which are their loving, patient, destiny-opposing and praiseworthy family members. (During certain moments Vojtek’s film is much more about the parents, which amplifies the power of its testimony.)

By supporting the project Help for autistic families in Slovakia you are supporting families with autistic children. Children with autism remain in our care for a number of hours so that their parents are able to get some respite. Thank-you. 

Main protagonist - Jakub
Main protagonist - Jakub
Main protagonist - Milan
Main protagonist - Milan
Main protagonist - Silvia
Main protagonist - Silvia
Coming back from a trip with Miska
Coming back from a trip with Miska

In August 2016 Autistic Centre Andreas organized day camps for children with autism again. At the camp we had six children, each of them had their therapist. This is mainly because most children were from the external environment. Camp lasted five days, which is a really short time for exploring, but it is the time needed for parents to relax. Immediately after the camp we asked parents if they would like a two-week camp next year. Camp is financed mainly through project "For parents, without parents", and that means thanks to you, our donors. Thank you very much.

Lets look at the experencie through the eyes of our logopedics doctor Gabrielle. For her it was the first summer camp in our center.
"The first day on Monday, we were getting to know each other with Miška. We were in the therapeutic room in which Miška has regular therapy. Since she's been in the room he knew, she helped me discover what toys are hiding there. While Miska picked those toys, I named them and I've watched her play. Later, we made a little trip with other children to the monument on the nearby hills.

On Tuesday morning Miška brought her new friend the Bear to the center. It was almost as big as herself. Since the Bear was the main subject of fun and we had a prearranged plan for the day it had to come with us to see the park. In the forest park there were surprisingly many children. Miška just stood there and watched what was happening around. On the way back she was really tired and fell asleep immediately after lunch.

On Wednesday we went to firefighters station. Miška enjoyed the trip on trolley. Watching the road traffic and passing people interested her a lot. Of course the Bear was there to see it. She tried everything at the station. She even allowed firefighters to ride her on sliding platform. While we waited for the trolley Miška gave me first hug.

On Thursday we visited the zoo. Lion and tiger was her favorite animals there. When we returned back to Andreas I taught her how to do "Tap, Tap Tapuška" a nic game for kids. We were laughing and made eye contact.

The last day was divided into several activities. First we were in the garden where we were jumping on a trampoline and swung on a swing. Then we painted a painting with all the other children from camp. We ended the day on obstacle course in the gym, which she passed quickly. Finally, like all other children she ended up in a ball pool. "

At the firefighters station
At the firefighters station
At the Zoo
At the Zoo
Painting with hands
Painting with hands
Last photo from the camp
Last photo from the camp

How Tin-Tin the dog teaches Jakub – Canistherapy at the Autism Centre Andreas

At the Autism Centre Andreas we offer various therapies and free time activities for children with autism as a part of their stay at the Centre. Jakub’s favourite one was canistherapy.

“I want Tin-Tin already!” Jakub greets his therapist. Tin-Tin - a black Labrador who visits Jakub together with his owner is at the top of Jakub’s chart at the moment. Jakub no longer greets his therapist Lucia calling “Song!”, ”Trampoline!”, “Swing!”. Instead, he always asks: “Is Tino coming?”. “Tino only comes on Wednesdays” says the therapist patiently and shows Jakub his timetable. “Why?” But it is difficult to answer this question. “I want Wednesday!”, wishes Jakub on Monday, Tuesday,… every day.

Jakub already knows that they always start with shaking hands with Tino, like real men. “Shake!”…says Jakub with difficulties, but then he gradually starts talking. The dog Tin-Tin teaches Jakub. Jakub starts to understand that if he doesn’t call on Tino, Tino doesn’t come. “Fetch!” says Jakub and Tino brings a ball. With Tino’s help Jakub learns to communicate in a natural way. Tino gives him a direct feedback, positive or negative. Developing communication skills this way (like in case of other people with autism) is much more effective than involving children with autism in concrete activities (by asking questions or making comments), which might be related to them, but in which they are absolutely not interested, and therefore, they do not feel the need to react to them.

Tino also teaches Jakub to manage his hyperactivity. Tino helps Jakub to calm down, so that he can focus. When Jakub met Tino for the first time and they were supposed to walk together, Jakub started twisting the lead (just like he does with laces, beads, or anything that can be twisted). This of course got Tino going and they both got excited. Moreover, Jakub got a bit scared by Tino’s playfulness and he started losing his confidence. After they met again and again, Jakub gradually gave up on the lead twisting.  As a reward, he could walk with Tino around the garden and later in the street too. Besides playing fetch, Jakub really enjoys contact with Tino. Most of the time Jakub puts his head on Tino’s back and listens to Tino’s breath. Face-to face contact is the most interesting one for Jakub. He’s fascinated by the way Tino sticks his tongue out. He would like to look inside Tino.

The session is over. Tino is leaving with his owner, who says that Tinos sleeps like a log after each canistherapy session. Most probably, Jakub cannot fall asleep at all because he is too excited and cannot wait for the next Wednesday to come.

 

Art therapist Lucia.
Art therapist Lucia.

It is sometimes a real challenge for parents of autistic children to imagine a future for their kid. Even for talented children it is very difficult to live and perform everyday tasks on their own. Places like the Andreas Centre give the parents some hope, and teach their children to develop their skills no matter what.

The Andreas Centre for autistic families allows children with autism to share their hobbies, and their parents to take a break from the difficulties they are facing. This centre indeed provides some help to the whole family, both the child and the parents. The goal of the centre is to ensure a professional care for the children, through activities that can help them to cope with the symptoms they are facing.

It is also a great opportunity for parents to get away for a few hours from the constant and heavy concern for their child that they have to carry on their own. The constant fear of what would happen to their child if they are not every single minute with him is reduced a bit when they see some other people can also take care of him for a moment.

Art Therapy is one of the best ways to reduce those children´s anxiety and to make them spend a good and friendly moment.

The hard work of the professional caregivers has born its fruits and its results was seen at the Artforum café in Bratislava where an exhibition of wonderful paintings by the children has been on display until the end of April. It was a true success for the kids, their parents and staff from Andreas.

Lukas with his painting.
Lukas with his painting.
The process of creation.
The process of creation.
Snoezelen therapy influences various skills
Snoezelen therapy influences various skills

For parents without parents is a project, that gives parents of children with autism an opportunity to gain new strengths. In Autistic center Andreas we organize short time stays for children with autism. During that time their parents can devote their time and energy to their own hobbies and activities.

 

Since October 2015 to January 2016 we had ten two-day stays for five children with autism. During the stays we offer various therapies and leisure activities to children, e.g. canistherapy, art therapy and Snoezelen therapy. Peter is one of the children spellbound by Snoezelen therapy. This therapeutic approach also helped him.

 

Peter's story

Snoezelen therapy influences various skills and abilities - it improves cognitive abilities and concentration, develops communication skills, promotes initiative, and brings joy. On top of that we wanted to eliminate a problem this 5-year old boy had. He was terrified of the storm. Peter was fearful and cried every time it rained. All the shades had to be pulled down and Peter always hid under something during rain. In the multisensory environment, where Snoezelen therapy is carried out, we used piano mat to get rid of these manifestations of fear and phobia. Children use their hands and feet to push the keys on the piano where many sound variations can be selected: from human and animal sounds to the sounds of nature, e.g. wind, rain, and thunder. At first, the boy was terrified of the nature sounds and refused them. Then desensitization took place and he wasn't afraid any more. At first Peter held his favourite plasma tube (a sensory toy simulating "lightning") that was very motivational for him, and just listened to the sounds of storm. Later, he started playing the sounds of nature on the piano, and even demanded them from the therapist. He learned to tolerate these sounds in the safe environment of Snoezelen. This behavior was transferred to the home environment as well. Peter does not mind the rain anymore. 

Peter was fearful and cried everytime it rained
Peter was fearful and cried everytime it rained
He learned to tolerate the sound of storm
He learned to tolerate the sound of storm
We get rid of the manifestations of fear and fobia
We get rid of the manifestations of fear and fobia
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Pontis Foundation

Location: Bratislava, Slovakia - Slovakia
Website: http:/​/​www.pontisfoundation.sk
Project Leader:
Marek Chalány
program coordinator for individual philantropy
Bratislava, Slovakia

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.