Chapter 15 - Early intervention for children with autistic spectrum disorders through a system of mobile services in the local community

Elsevier, Autism 360°, 2020, Pages 269-276
Ivanka Pejić

Legislation regulations from the field of preschool education in the Croatia mentions a possibility of organizing a systematic early intervention (EI) program from the sixth month of age, but in practice such an intervention is not carried out systematically but through projects co-financed by the ministry.The program of EI for children suspected or diagnosed with autism from detecting difficulties 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.While working with children and educating parents, we use the knowledge and experience of visual layouts, alternative assisted communication, sensory-integrative pedagogy, and 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 to systematically organize an EI program in the local community.The Alliance of Autism Associations in Croatia (SUZAH) and the association chairman advocate to implement the EI 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.