Ognjen Rakocevic Foundation for a dignified life for people with autism

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Ognjen Rakocevic Foundation was presented today as an organization founded to work exclusively for charitable, scientific, educational, health and social purposes, in order to create conditions for a dignified life and work of persons with autism.

President of the Foundation, mother of the recently deceased 10-year old autistic boy Ognjen who drowned in river Moraca, Valentina Rakocevic, said it is very difficult to see and face the first signs of autism in your child.

She said early diagnosis and constant work with children are of utmost importance.

Energy and goodness awoken in people by Ognjen’s case should be directed to help other children with autism, she added.

“We need to do something for these children, and I believe the Foundation can help us do just that”, Mrs. Rakocevic said at a news conference.

Executive Director of the NGO “Staze” (eng. ‘Paths’), Anka Djurisic, said the objectives of the Foundation are psychological and social support for children with autism and their families, improving the development status of children, support to education and training, as well as raising awareness of the rights of autistic children.

She added the establishment of the Centre for children with autism is only a small part of what the state must do to help these children, and that ministries of Labor and Social Welfare, Health and Education must work together and be compatible in their measures and activities.

“Without that, there can be no inclusion or dignified life for people with disabilities”, announced Djurisic.

President of the Management Board of the Foundation, Milica Miličić, stressed that there is no psychological support for the parents at the time when they find out about the problem of autism in their children, explaining that parents usually lose a whole year before they compose themselves.

The next step would be educating pediatricians to diagnose the condition earlier.

But even after the diagnosis, parents don’t know where to go next and what to do.

Today, treatments for autistic children are financially covered by the state, but Milicic adds parent still need huge financial resources “because the money allocated is still insufficient for the market prices of speech therapists, and other necessary things”.

She says Montenegro needs a team of special education teachers and speech therapists whose services would be free and constant.

NGO “Staze” is the only organization which provides speech therapy twice weekly free of charge.

“But this is not enough, because children with autism need daily interventions”, Milicic explained.

Source: Cafe Del Montenegro