Vinteren 2015/16 har Signo hatt et samarbeid med en foreldreorganisasjon i Litauen, ved navn PAGAVA.
Leder av internasjonal avdeling Knut Rune Saltnes har blant annet snakket om tidlig intervensjon. (Et begrep som ofte refererer til å tilby tjenester til små barn med utviklingshemming. Det finnes mange aktiviteter som kan bidra til å lette tidlig intervensjon)
– Vi har besøkt hverandre og målet har vært en gjensidig erfaringsutveksling, forteller Knut Rune Saltnes.
– Vi informerte også om foreldrekurs og innholdet i oppfølging av barn og familier.
PAGAVA i Litauen har gitt informasjon om deres måte å jobbe på og vi fikk besøke ulike døveskoler og tilbud for barn og unge i alderen 2-25 år.
I den engelske artikkelen kan du lese mer om besøkene og innholdet.
Read more in the following article:
The experience and knowledge exchange is a part of the project cooperation "Services for deaf and hard of hearing children by using Norway practice" financed by NGO Programme Lithuania Fund for Bilateral Relations. Partners in the project is PAGAVA, Lithuania and Signo in Norway.
PAGAVA Lithuanian Association of Families with Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children PAGAVA is a national organization providing various kind of support for the families with deaf and hard of hearing children.
The main purpose of the organization is to provide emotional, psychological and social support for the families of children with hearing disabilities. Informational resources is most important during the first steps into successful deaf child rehabilitation.
The PAGAVA organization provides relevant information by combining knowledge of specialists and experience of other parents/families. PAGAVA also provides services for deaf youth and deaf parents, caring about their cultural life and everything what fulfil successful integration in society. It is achieved by implementing various national and international projects, collaborating with state institutions, educational centres, specialists in medicine and audiology.
Organization PAGAVA have started to collaborate with partners in Norway 6 years ago. Positive changes have been implemented in Lithuania during this period. Universal new-born hearing screening was started to implement since 2014 and Norway exchange of experience had impact on that.
Nowadays Association PAGAVA seeks to develop early intervention group for the families, when deaf or hard of hearing children born and support provision for the families continually by organizing parent courses. These services are successfully working in Norway, while there is a lack in Lithuanian system because of limited finance resources the state provide for hearing impaired children and their families rehabilitation.
Signo offers nation-wide services to people with deafblindness, deaf/hard of hearing and deaf/hard of hearing people with additional disabilities through seven different units around the country. Signo is an independent freehold diaconal foundation within the Church of Norway. Signo is a non- governmental, non-profit foundation.
The services we offer vary greatly and they are as different as the people that take advantage of them. Signo provides:
- Housing, culture and leisure
- Sheltered work and work assistance
Signo has great experience of and knowledge about the challenges deaf and people with deafblindness face. Respect, tolerance and diversity are concepts we appreciate. The length of the service varies from some days to lifelong.
The impact of the Latin word “Signo” is “I’m signing”. Sign language and various alternative and supplementary communication are crucial.
In 2015 the association PAGAVA and Signo started to collaborate. In February 2016, 2 representatives from the association PAGAVA met partners in Norway to get more familiar with Signo activities. They got more information about parent courses and specific information of working methods with persons with hearing impairment and additional disabilities.
During the visit, parent courses have been performing in Signo Resource Centre Andebu. Partners could see directly how the courses are organized. It is important information, while PAGAVA seeks to implement early intervention system for deaf/hard of hearing children families and the following support when raising the children and seeking successful integration. Partners were interested how the system in Norway have been created, what have been the first steps and also how the social security system is working in Norway. Both parts are willing that experience exchange is going to be an important improvement while PAGAVA make suggestions for state organizations in Lithuania to take relevant decisions.
Knut Rune Saltnes from Signo, Tone Elisabeth Morsund and Unni Line Ottersen from Statped (a governmental service advisor for special needs education) visited Vilnius, Lithuania, in April 2016. They met representatives of the state institutions and held lectures about early intervention and parents courses.
Screening of hearing ability started on regular basis in 2008 in Norway. Every year about 60 new-born children need some kind of hearing aids or Cochlear Implant. Statped organize special teams to support the children and the families with information and knowledge. The teams visits the families at their home. They inform their social network, kindergarten, educational authorities and local schools about the challenges and possibilities of the hearing impaired child and the impact of hearing loss on the communication in general.
The special team for early intervention offer individual assessment of the child with focus on physical, social and cognitive development, development of language (signs and speech) and observation of cooperation with other children and adults. The support has both short and long-term perspective.
The team invited parents to courses to meet with others in the same situation. They spoke about:
• Sound and hearing (audiology)
• An insight in different communication modalities (Norwegian speech, Norwegian sign language and Norwegian with sign support)
• Natural speech and language development
• Knowledge about rights and laws
• Exchange of experience
When the child is 4-6 years old, the courses also focus on listening, participation in learning environment, early reading, writing and mathematics. The parents learn about social interaction and how children use the language actively in texts and how to start the reading process and use literature.
Part of the terms of reference for Statped is to serve the educational authorities at local level. Courses to teachers and counsellors are part of this. Information and knowledge about hearing impairment (audiology) is part of this along with sign language, sign supported speech and visual communication/visual environment. Information about technical aids and hearing friendly classroom is often useful and necessary. The educational authorities locally is responsible for adapting and facilitate the education and environment for each pupil.
The early intervention program is individual adapted and the team need to follow the development of the child closely to give adequate advice to teachers and parents. Often video tape is used to describe the development, and suggest and introduce methods of stimulation and work.
The family support is free of charge for the family and last as long as necessary.
In the 1990’s, the government in cooperation with the schools for the deaf, universities and other stakeholders developed a course they called "See my language". The course should learn parents of deaf children to speak with their child in sign language. The package consists three elements:
• sign language,
• deaf culture,
• history and psychology.
The schools invite parents with deaf/hard of hearing children to attend "See my language" for all together 40 weeks from the child is born to the child finish primary school. The length, content and method of the course is unique. The Norwegian social security system makes it possible for parents to leave theirs daily work to attend the course.
The course is arranged in connection with a (former ) school for the deaf. Signo is part of the "See my language" and arrange regular courses almost every week. The parents come from all over Norway, often together with their children. Both hearing and deaf children takes part of the school activities. The families have meals together and they often do recreational activities together.
The content of the sign language module follows the language development of the child so the parents are able to be language role models for the child. This increase the possibilities for normal language development and prepare the child for learning and progress.
The families are bilingual. They use speech and signs. This makes the child feel included in the family.
The parents spend most time on learning sign language, but also get important information on the culture and history of deaf is part of the course. The psychology module is about having a deaf child. The parents learn about how the child develop and what consequences the hearing loss has for communication, learning, cooperation and other parts of life.
For the visitors from Lithuania to Norway met with one parent from Lithuania living in Norway. She participates in “See my language”. She told about the reality for deaf children in Norway and the courses witch are available for the parents.
The visitors was introduced to the facilities of Signo in Andebu and Oslo.
Visitors from Norway to Lithuania met with staff at PAGAVA, experts in the field of teaching and diagnostic the deaf, parents and politicians. It was interesting meetings and good conversation. Lot of questions occurred and the differences between the countries was clear. Even when the premises for guiding the parents is different, we experienced that good work is possible. With less resources, the PAGAVA and others gives facilitate quality education for the deaf.
Initiative of bilateral relations and its activities is useful experience in seeking to improve services for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families in Lithuania. Partners from Lithuania and Norway are expecting that appreciable results in strengthening support for the families will be achieved faster according to gained experience during the project. It is also expected that successful Norwegian experience will have an impact while improving services for the families in Lithuania and hope to continue the partnership between countries in new successful projects.
Signo and Statped is thankful for the opportunity to meet colleges in Lithuania and for the possibility to learn and share information. Both parties benefit from this kind of experience exchange.
Thanks to EEA Grants for support for this exchange program.