Polska Fundacja Pomocy Dzieciom Niedosłyszącym -ECHO-
The Polish Foundation For The Hearing-impaired Children Echo
Our aim is to foster the development of hearing-impaired children, delayed speech development and children requiring special care, as well as to help teenagers and adults with hearing difficulties.
Echo came to life on March 23rd 1995. The organization was established by parents of hard of hearing children and by hearing and speech therapists. They decided to initiate this form of self-help because they knew it would be convenient for them and beneficial for parents of other children. In 1996 during a rehabilitation camp the Parent Committee was formed to facilitate the Foundation’s activities. In the same year a Support Center for children, teenagers and adults with hearing difficulties was called to life. Many programs, thanks to which we can carry out our statutory goals, were implemented. In 2004 our Foundation (from the beginning a non-governmental organization in the Polish voluntary sector) received the status of public benefit organization (which allows to obtain 1% tax benefit).
The functioning of our foundation is based on parent participation and the work of volunteers (elderly people and students). The Parent Committee organizes charity events and motivates people to cooperate. It promotes mutual help and sharing of knowledge and information. Cooperation for the benefit of our children results insure effects and brings us great satisfaction. The interior decoration of the rooms reminds that of a child’s room which emphasizes the homey feeling.
90% of our charges attend public kindergartens and public schools. They take their final exams in top high-schools and get into college. They can enjoy a good start into adulthood.
There are also other integration camps with elements of therapy for those who want to put their knowledge into action.
Our wish is that people with hearing difficulties overcome their limitations and strive for ventures they had never dreamed of before.
The foundation undertakes activities in the field of advocacy and cooperates with public health and education institutions, local councils, universities, non-government organizations, organs of authorities, centers of culture and medical companies.
We also implement a program of student practices where we train future specialists.
Our rehabilitation camps are a tried form of therapy. They are a stimulus for further hard work during the year. Parents who carry out this work day after day can expand their knowledge for the benefit of their children.
Polska Fundacja Pomocy Dzieciom Niedosłyszącym ECHO is an accredited sending organization for European Voluntary Service in Action 2 of the Communitary Programme „Youth in Action”.
The structure of the Foundations actions:
- the hearing impaired child
- the family
- work (employment, support)
- cooperation with organs of public authority
- actions which employ the use of new multimedia technologies
- sport (tourism and recreation)
- cooperation with highly specialized institutions of public health and with medical companies
- cooperation with local councils
- cooperation with non-government organizations
Hearing is one of the most important senses. A hearing disabled child has restricted contact with his environment. As, not hearing sounds, he cannot function normally in the world of speaking people, his speech does not develop properly. Only adequate treatment including rehabilitation assisted by the help of qualified specialists will enable the child’s proper intellectual development, his vulnerability to sound and his speech development.
The Support Center organizes:
- individual and group speech and hearing therapy and workshops on stimulating their emotional and social development which is conducted by specialists such as: speech therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists and other instructors
- reeducation classes
- employment support
- self-help groups for teenagers and adults
- groups of support for parents and caretakers
- training courses for teachers, volunteers and specialists
- integration events (carnival balls, family picnics, football matches and such)
It is crucial for all specialists involved to cooperate in order to work out individual methods for each child. They should take into consideration the child’s individual abilities, needs and finally progress. Only this will benefit its wholesome development.
The Holistic Model of Support of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons developed by THE ECHO FOUNDATION, WARSAW, POLAND
The Polish Foundation for the Hearing-Impaired Children -ECHO- was established on March 23, 1995. in Warsaw, Poland. The organization was founded by parents of hearing impaired children and specialists in the field of hearing and speech therapy. There are over 820 families registered to the Foundation nowadays and 300 of them are covered by daily therapy. The Foundation’s activities are based on the Holistic Model of Support for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons called ECHO-PROGRESS. The Model was developed over 23 years of experience gained by the organization. The main assumptions of the model and the tasks resulting from them are aimed at limiting the problem of social exclusion and increasing the chances for a satisfying life in the mainstream society.
Main features of the ECHO-PROGRESS MODEL:
1. Support including deaf and hard of hearing persons from the onset of their life to adulthood and relating to their families and social environment as well.
2. Individual and group therapy is implemented through long-term, comprehensive speech therapy, psychological, pedagogical interactions, stimulation of intellectual, emotional and social development (with particular emphasis on early support).
3. Individual and interdisciplinary approach to each person.
4. The participation of parents in creating an individual path of child therapy.
5. Creating support programs for youth and adults – organization of support peer groups, supported employment and international cooperation.
6. Teaching and integrating the Polish Sign Language (PJM) and alternative means of communication.
7. Organizing cultural, recreational and sports events for children and youth.
8. Involving parents in self-help activities by creating support groups and by taking actions in the Parents’ Council.
9. Implementing volunteering in various forms at the Foundation, at home and abroad.
10. Organizing therapeutic trips (including rehabilitation camps).
11. Building the right atmosphere in therapeutic work and everyday relations
– mutual help, respect and cooperation – creation of one Big Family.
12. Cooperation with state and local authorities, private companies including medical and educational business and non-governmental organizations.
Polska Fundacja Pomocy Dzieciom Niedosłyszącym ECHO
ul. Grójecka 65A II piętro
02-094 Warszawa, Polska