Ivanka Pejić, Croatia, has been working as a special education needs teacher with children with autism from 7 to 21 years of age in special educational institutions for education of children with autism since 1996. in Rijeka , Croatia
Graduated as an university specialist of early intervention in educational rehabilitation (Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation in Zagreb) in 2008. She is the head of the program “Early intervention for children with autistic spectrum disorders through a system of mobile services in the local community”.
Program is aplicated by the Association for the care of autistic persons in Rijeka and implemented by experts of Centre for Autism -Zagreb, subsidiary Rijeka, kindergarten Rijeka and the Centre for social care Rijeka. The program is suported and financed by the the Ministry of social policy and youth in the Republic of Croatia.
In her work she uses a diagnosis instrument „Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule“ (ADOS 2), knowledge acquired through education “Sensory integration according to Ayres ® in pedagogy / SIAT® the educational system experts in developmental rehabilitation”.
In her work with parents she uses life and professional skills and knowledge as a Psychotherapist ECP „School of cybernetics psychotherapy – systemic approach” in Croatia, a member of the European Family Therapy Association (EFTA).
“Early intervention for children with autistic spectrum disorders through a system of mobile services in the local community” – example of good practice
Legislation regulations from the field of preschool education in the Republic of Croatia mentions a possibility of organizing a systematic early intervention program from the sixth month of age, but in practice such an intervention is not carried out systematically but through projects and programs co-financed by the ministry.
The program of early intervention for children suspected and/or diagnosed with autism from detecting difficulties from autism spectrum up to 4 years of age is carried out since 2008. in the local community.
The program has made it possible for over 300 families with children with autism to engage in program activities and individual patronage work with a child, carried out by experts such as an university specialist of early intervention in educational rehabilitation, 7 special education needs teachers, a psychologist, a speech therapist and a music therapist.
While working with children and educating parents we use the knowledge and experience of visual layouts (TEACCH program), alternative assisted communication (AAC technology), sensory-integrative pedagogy, dance and movement therapy.
For the siblings of our little users an art workshop is organized, and the parents enhance their parental competences through support groups under the guidance of psychologists.
The social worker informs the parents about the rights arising from the social and
health care law.
The association and the center work closely with other local institutions which through their programs provide various forms of support for children and their parents in order to systematicly organize an early intervention program in the local community.
The Alliance of Autism Associations in Croatia (SUZAH http://www.autizam-suzah.hr/) and the association chairman Mrs. Penko advocate to implement the early intervention system on a national level. Mrs. Penko is a member of the Expert Commission of the project „National standards for early detection and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders“ of the Republic of Croatia.
Organizing the system of early intervention for children and families, and with the possibility of education and qualification for appropriate occupations, the dependence of the child and family on the social and pension rights and the institutions that provide them.
Link to work:
Centre for Autism Zagreb, subsidiary Rijeka (Special educational institutions for education of children with autism) – no link for now, web page is in progress
Association for the care of autistic persons in Rijeka http://www.autizam-ri.eu/o-nama/