18:44 27.06.2021

With the support of businessman Igor Kononenko, the center “Me + Family” provides unique assistance to children with special needs

3 min read

On Heroiv Stalingrada Street, 48-A, in a cozy corner of Kyiv’s Obolonskyi district, there is a unique preschool educational institution for children with various special educational needs (SEN) – “Me + Family”.

The focus of the institution – children aged 3 to 8 years, who have such developmental features as Down syndrome, psycho-speech developmental delay, autism and others.

During classes, which are held in small groups and formed by age and by the characteristics and needs of children, specialists help students to socialize, understand and accept themselves, and live with their own peculiarities.

Several specialists work with each group at the same time. To achieve the goal, the staff of Child Development Center “Me + Family” uses a wide variety of methods – a zootherapy with the involvement of a trained labrador, and correctional puppet theater, and sand therapy.

A speech therapist and a speech pathologist work on children’s speech disorders, help children cope with speech disorders, psychophysical problems and disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

There are also a child psychoneurologist, an exercise therapy nurse, a rehabilitation teacher, practical psychologists, a speech therapist, and a defectologist. The team also has two rare specialists in pediatric neurocorrection.

In addition to rehabilitation, children also have regular classes, such as mathematics, geography, etc.

“Me + Family” was established as a public organization of like-minded educators, and later received the official status of a municipal institution. This helped the project obtain funding for minimum needs. However, for the complex work of the center, which makes it unique, this is not enough.

The institution has limitations, in particular in the number of staff, and does not provide certain narrow-profile specialists. Therefore, today the center exists in a symbiosis of state and non-state institutions.

To provide special services to children with SEN and to support their families, the resources of PO “In Child’s Palms” – both financial and human – are involved.

In order to work and provide full assistance to those who need it, the center receives help from sponsors. Over the years of its existence, “Me + Family” has formed a certain circle of friends. These are volunteers and philanthropists who are actively involved in the work of the center.

Among philanthropists who have helped the center since its inception as a volunteer project, Yuriy Petrenko – the director of the institution – named Igor Kononenko, who joined first personally, and later through his own Charitable Fund, and regularly provides multiple assistance. There are organizations that donate once a year. For example, “Ukreksimbank” – a state bank.

Artists also help. For example, they provide their paintings, the center periodically exhibits them at charity auctions, and the proceeds are directed to the basic needs of the institution and its students. The city authorities provide a privilege for the use of part of the premises, and a private veterinary clinic together with “Royal Canin” brand help with the nutrition and treatment of labradors involved in the work of the center.