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Swiss PRO
  • Government of the Republic of Serbia
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM)

News / Success Stories

Support to the Proper Development of Children with Developmental Difficulties

  • Svilajnac, 11 June 2021

A sensory room facilitating therapeutic services contributing to the improvement of motor and mental skills, self-control and learning and communication competences, and thus the quality of life of children, was built in Svilajnac with Swiss Government support provided through the Swiss PRO Programme. The project also includes extension of psychological support to the children’s parents.

“I am delighted both by the sensory room and the whole team of the Family Care Centre. The children can now develop and my son’s progress is already visible. Many thanks to everyone who made the proper development of our children possible,” says the mother of one of the youngest users of the sensory room in Svilajnac.

The project is implemented by the Municipality of Svilajnac in cooperation with the Family Care Centre, a provider of social protection services within which the sensory room was opened. A psychologist, speech therapist and physical therapist perform their treatments in the sensory room. In addition to massagers, a vibrating lazy bag and a fibre optic curtain, the sensory room also includes interactive tubes, a balance disc and a UV box. The children cannot hurt themselves on any of the equipment. The treatments last 40 minutes and over 50 treatments are performed per week.

“I’ve been dreaming of a sensory room for 18 years now and I think we’ve done a huge thing for Svilajnac. We’ve created conditions for fulfilling the needs and improving the state of children suffering from autism and ADHD in this town that is small but unfortunately has great prejudices. Sensory integration starts already in the car in which we drive the children to therapy. As many as 26 of the children go to village schools and they missed the music that now accompanies them as they make their way to the sensory room, so they now come in an even better mood. These children have great difficulties mastering the curriculum because they are hyperactive and mentally feeble, but they know all the songs played in the car by heart. They haven’t started talking fully yet, but they are now uttering words and sentences and that’s extremely important,” Ivana Petrović, the Director of the Family Care Centre, emphasises.

Cooperation on social inclusion at the local level, with local self-governments and directly with vulnerable groups, has always been important to Switzerland and will remain a priority in its cooperation with Serbia, says Richard Kohli, the Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Belgrade.

“We have so far supported over 8,000 beneficiaries through the social inclusion component of the Swiss PRO Programme. But those are just numbers. Seeing the projects contributing to the improvement of social protection in the field is much more important and impressive. The sensory room and Family Care Centre in Svilajnac are an excellent example of money well spent,” Kohli underlines.

“Improving Therapeutic Services for Children and Youth with Developmental Difficulties in the Municipality of Svilajnac” is one of the 21 projects granted funding within the public call for proposals “Join Forces, Provide Support” through which the Swiss Government allocated €240,000 to local self-governments to improve social protection at the local level.

More information about the supported projects is available at Factsheet on Public Calll Results and Programme Results section of the Swiss PRO website.