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Learn, Learn and Learn!

October 24, 2012, 16:00 2919 Author: Maria Semashkina, translated by Anna Oliynyk www.deti.zp.ua Nine instructors from Chernigov Child’s Home in the village of Kalinovka visited a rehabilitation center "Prometei" in Zaporozhye and attended a training session on professional burnout

Nine instructors from Chernigov Child’s Home in the village of Kalinovka visited Zaporozhye on October 12. Just in one day they visited a rehabilitation center for special children and attended a training session on professional burnout.

In the "Prometei" rehabilitation center the guests could not only see the conditions of work different from those they are used to, but also ask the questions they have been long interested in. How a child with infantile cerebral palsy (ICP) can be taught to use a computer, how he can be taught to walk with and without a walking frame, how a body jacket can protect a child’s spine from final curvature, which basic needs a child should be able to satisfy on his/her own, and what is more important – being able to walk or being able to hold a spoon and get to a chair standing at the table – those were the questions asked by the orphanage instructors.

Rehabilitation officers working at the center not only shared their knowledge and practical experience, but also demonstrated some achievements of their students: those who were only bedridden just one year ago and now are able to stand on their knees; those who used to be dumb and now could speak and even cite poems. Little Dasha made some visitors cry when she cited a well-known poem about a Grandma. We saw a girl like this in one of TV shows, just an ordinary little girl. And now we were looking at this special kid, who was just as talented as any other. I hope that it will give the instructors from Kalinovka one more motive to believe in their students and teach them in spite of the fact that someone once told they were learning-disabled…

Having visited the center, we all had some tea with Victoria, the psychologist of our Foundation, and were talking about how after 20 years of work one could get used to special children and grown-ups, stop crying when looking at them, put up with death, and go to work in high spirits. Someone still cannot put up with children suffering. Others are overwhelmed with their own problems or general situation in the country, and as for their jobs – they are just bearing the duties they have to perform. And someone does not try to hide that he or she does not really have a choice of jobs available – there are only their farms and the orphanage…

After the psychologist described how the professional burnout syndrome develops, starting with a great enthusiasm and ending once with a latent depression and various diseases, the orphanage instructors were offered to have a drawing session: to draw their problems, their roots in the past and options of them being settled in the future.

Almost all the guests from Kalinovka were talking about the challenges they face openly and directly. They were truly happy to get an opportunity to draw and better understand their problems. It would be really great if after gaining a better understanding of their own selves, they would be able to look at the children they work with in a new way. Even now some of them are making efforts to overcome their on-the-job fatigue and everyday stresses using 15-minutes naps, bead weaving or needlework – this typically female activity which has unfortunately been forgotten by many ladies working at our Foundation, including myself. By the way, I also gained a lot of useful information and realized I do not notice very simple things. So I am sure that in future we will all need such training sessions more than once.

We would like to say a big thank you to the "Prometei" rehabilitation officers of the center and in particular to Angelica for their help, to our psychologist Victoria Mochalova for the wonderful training session, to the employees of the foundation Olga and Inna for their moral support, to the director of the Child's Home Nikolai for arranging this tour, and of course to the orphanage instructors Tatyana, Dmitry, Liliya, Larisa, Olga, Valentina, Sophia, Natalia, and Raisa for their courage, sincere attitude and their desire to learn!

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