Down Syndrome Rehabilitation Centre from Pula Presented in European Parliament

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Centre for Rehabilitation of Persons with Down Syndrome from Pula is unique in Europe.

Croatia’s MEPs Dubravka Šuica, Ivana Maletić and Ivan Jakovčić organized on Tuesday in Brussels a conference to present the Centre for Rehabilitation of Persons with Down Syndrome from Pula, which is unique in Europe since the rehabilitation process involves children with DS, parents and all family members, as well as various experts, reports on January 25, 2017.

“Today we have presented the Croatian model of leadership in Europe”, said director and cofounder of the Centre Branka Butorac. She presented the work of the Centre and the model of multidisciplinary rehabilitation which gives very good results. At the end of the conference, young men and women with Down syndrome served coffee and cakes to conference participants in order to demonstrate what they have learned through rehabilitation.

The Centre was founded in 2005 and about 400 children have passed through it so far, which is a quarter of the population of people with DS in Croatia, as well as another 70 persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Slovakia. It has a daily capacity of 30 participants and the waiting period for enrolment is about six months. The Centre has received funds from the Erasmus Plus programme and has developed cooperation with similar institutions, as well as with children and young adults with DS from Belgium and France.

The conference also included parents who spoke about their experiences and how the Centre has helped them to accept and understand what to do after the Down syndrome was diagnosed to their children.

MEP Dubravka Šuica said that the Centre was an outstanding example of a multidisciplinary approach to children and young people with DS, which is recognized by Europe and by the World Health Organization. “I am proud and happy to have you with us and to see what the centre in Pula has accomplished. This is an example of how much potential small Croatia has and what it can achieve”, said MEP Ivana Maletić. “We did a good thing and this is a way for us to express our gratitude to all the employees of the Centre in Pula who have provided help to many in the last ten years”, said MEP Ivan Jakovčić, adding that this is “a phenomenal experience, not only for Croatia and Istria, but also for the world”.

The conference also included professor Jean Adolphe Rondal from the University of Liege, who emphasized the need for early language skills training with children who are born with DS. Denise Vojvoda-Škrobe from the Social Welfare Centre in Pula stressed the importance of “active parents for the rehabilitation of children with DS”. Professor Vida Čulić from the Faculty of Medicine in Split presented the results of her scientific work and monitoring of people with DS from birth to adulthood. In addition to parents, experiences in working with children with DS were also presented by teachers and volunteers who work intensively with children and young people with DS.


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