Step by Step Association for Disabled Children in Zamość
We are a non-governmental organization operating since 1990, which brings together people with disabilities, their carers and friends.
We run a unique professional activity in the region of south-eastern Poland
in the area of integrated rehabilitation, education and social support of people with disabilities, in particular with regard to cerebral palsy.
In accordance with our mission, we create successive missing elements in the support system in order to equalise opportunities for children, young people and adults with disabilities. Our activities include:
early developmental support for infants and toddlers,
integrated rehabilitation/education in a "Mother and Child Group",
integrated rehabilitation/education in preschool groups,
organization of education/rehabilitation of students with special educational and health needs at the level of elementary school and preparatory classes,
support of post-secondary school education by providing an assistant,
occupational therapy for young people and adults with intellectual disabilities,
support and activation classes for adults with disabilities,
training in self-care and independent living for children and youth,
Daily transportation of children and youth to classes,
Supported housing (in progress),
Development of sports for people with disabilities,
provision of public goods (sports, recreation, culture, public life, etc.)
training on disability issues,
Development and promotion of AAC,
development and promotion of Directed Learning,
International cooperation and exchange of experience with similar organizations,
charity work (food collections),
development of volunteering.
Trusting in the knowledge and experience of an outstanding physician, Dr. Zofia Kulakowska, the Association decided to choose ConductiveEducation as the leading method of multi-profile improvement of children with early brain damage. The author of ConductiveEducation was a Hungarian physician and teacher, AndrásPető (1893-1967). The validity of this choice has been confirmed by research on brain plasticity and knowledge in the field of neuropsychology, neurophysiology, etc. and, since the beginning of the 21st century, by the concept of a biopsychosocial model of disability, underlying the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The staff of the Association has had the opportunity to acquire basic knowledge in the field of Guided Learning from Belgian specialists at the Re-education Centre "La Famille" in Brussels, from English specialists at the PercyHedley Foundation in Newcastle (as well as at the Craighalbert Centre in Scotland and NICE in Birmingham) and from Hungarian specialists at the MOIRA Centre in Budapest and later at the Pető Institute. The staff of the Association - not stopping their professional development - started organising trainings (lectures and workshops) for interested people from all over Poland. The Guided Teaching System was promoted at national and international conferences, of which representatives of the Association were organizers, co-organizers or participants. Over 30 publications have been produced, including instructional videos.
The Integrated Approach is a philosophy and a system of multi-profile and simultaneous actions for a child with early brain injury based on the principles of Guided Instruction taking into account the following premises:
Children with cerebral palsy may have a number of different dysfunctions as a result of brain injury: neuromotor, cognitive, communication, somatognostic, emotional-social, etc. All functions are important and require improvement.
Movement, speech, perception, social contacts develop in parallel from birth and in mutual dependence. There is no rational reason to improve them separately, without taking into account the fact of functional integration in the brain.
Organization of educational-rehabilitation-social activities simultaneously: in the same place and at the same time is possible in the educational system - essential for every child. A child with a disability is a student with special educational and health needs and a member of a peer group.
The organization of daily integrated activities at one place and time in the natural educational cycle is convenient for parents and promotes their quality of life.
The goal of integrated improvement is to achieve the greatest possible autonomy for the person with a disability in personal and social life, to participate as fully as possible in public life, and to strengthen his or her family.