We continue our conversation with Cathy Hyslop -an Early intervention consultant from the Oregon University, USA. A specialist with a valuable experience, working with autistic children and their families.
Cathy, are there any new therapeutic methods which are not applied by specialists in Bulgaria yet?
There is still an emphasis in many of the programs in Bulgaria to use the ‘expert model’ of therapy and intervention. In this model, parents take their children to the therapist who works directly with the child in individual sessions. At Karin Dom, Parent-Mediated Classes are offered in which the therapists at Karin Dom teach the parents to use the strategies and methods so that the parents can more effectively communicate, interact and teach their child at home. Parents are supported as partners with the therapist in each child’s education. Parent-Mediated Intervention needs to be offered in more programs throughout Bulgaria as it has been proven to be very effective!
Cathy, you held internal qualifications of the Karin Dom’s team. What is your opinion about the quaification of specialists and what are your recommendations?
Through annual visits over the past two years, I have witnessed the incredible work being done at the Karin Dom Center. The program strives to assure that the services they provide align with the best practices followed in quality program around the world. The therapists I have worked with are highly trained and understand the practical application of evidence-based intervention strategies, implementing high quality services competently and consistently. Parents are invited to be included in every aspect of their child’s services as Karin Dom recognizes the importance and value of working with parents as partners in the education and support of each child. All research suggests that the earlier children and families are supported in this way, the better the long term outcomes are for everyone involved.
Cathy, you made trainings for parents and professionalists, visited the families involved in the program “Early Intervention”, observed the work of Karin Dom’s team. What impressed you most from professional perspective in Bulgaria?
The children I have observed at the Karin Dom Centre over the past 2 years have all shown significant improvement in their social connection to others, their functional communication and cognitive skills and their daily living skills. For example, the children have notably increased their attachment to their parents and in their ability to effectively interact and communicate with the people around them. They have also increased their self-help skills, like learning to dress themselves or use the toilet independently (a goal of all parents!). Parents report that they are better able to go in to their community because they now understand how to respond to their child’s need and to the questions of others. The children are also better prepared for entering the public school programs. By offering educational support early in the life of young children with disabilities and their families, expenses are lowered over time, the overall development and social life of the child is improved and the quality of life is better for the family now and in the future. Karin Dom is a leader internationally in providing this much need type of quality service!