What is early intervention?
Early intervention is a complex of professional services for young children with developmental delays and disabilities, atypical behavior, social and emotional difficulties. This is a mobile service of preventative nature. Karin Dom’s Early Intervention Program consists of home visits, visits to the maternity hospital and other complementary services. The service is provided by a multidisciplinary team: social worker, rehabilitator, speech therapist, psychologist and breastfeeding consultant.
Karin Dom started the service in 2010 and by now, 700 children in total have been served. After leaving the program, 52% of the children no longer need further therapy, specialized services or resource support at kindergarten.
In the core of the services is the family-oriented approach, which is innovative for Bulgaria. The focus of the work of Karin Dom’s specialists is not only the child, but the whole family. Parents report that, as a result of this service they feel more confident, motivated and relaxed because they know how to support their child’s development at home. This is directly connected to the improvement of quality of life for children with special needs and is one of the program’s main goals.
Eligibility criteria for Karin Dom’s Early Intervention Program:
Child age: 0-3
• The child is at risk of developmental delay, including premature and/or low-birth-weight,
• Delay in one or more areas of development – cognitive, motor, communicative, adaptive, social-emotional
• Risk of abandonment and placing a child in institution,
• Child living in Varna (The Program is free for the families who live in Varna. Families outside Varna can use paid consultations).
Why intervening early?
Research shows that the early years period is crucial for forming important brain functions and psychic processes with an impact on health, behavior and learning, not only in childhood but throughout person’s whole life. There is evidence that starting early increases the chances of children for social inclusion and fulfilling lives. With the help of early intervention parents develop skills, receive psychological support, information and motivation to handle living situations and to support the development of their child with special needs.
Karin Dom service provides timely support for these parents through:
• Support at maternity hospital – psychological support and information about available services
• Home visits – suggestions about structuring the environment, appropriate toys, incorporating stimulating activities into the daily routine, etc.,
• Connecting to the existing resources, like medical, social, educational services
• Group activities at Karin Dom for social integration and preparing the child for kindergarten,
• Support with transition to kindergarten or school,
• Family-mediated intervention – for development of functional communication and adaptive skills in children from the autistic spectrum and communication delays,
• Toy library – equipped with educational toys where children and parents can play together and receive professional advice,
• Resource library with books, toys and equipment at disposal to the families,
• Contact parent – support from a parent who has lived through a similar experience,
• Parent support groups led by psychologist,
• Individual psychological support for parents,
• Training for parents – we organize thematic meetings and open trainings, as well as seminars with international and Bulgarian specialists in the field of child development.
Referrals to Karin Dom’s Early Intervention Program
After referring to the Program by calling at Karin Dom, phone number 052 302 518, you will be visited by one of our early childhood consultants at your home. After initial assessment and enrolling into the Program, you will plan together the goals and activities that best suit the needs of your child and family. The program is free of charge for the families who live in Varna. Families from other regions can receive paid consultations.
Karin Dom is an initiator and developer of the Early Intervention Program, which has supported hundreds of families throughout the years. The Program is supported by Varna Municipality, and received high appraisal from UNICEF.
We work with 85 families per month, and Varna Municipality finances the service for 40 of them through municipal delegated activity. For the rest Karin Dom is looking for financing through projects and donations.
Information: Karin Dom, Varna