“I have a friend with autism” Campaign – 2014

Everybody has to pay taxes to the state and not seldomly do we wonder what exact use the money we pay is put to. The 2% campaign by the Kronospan Foundation offers an opportunity to any private individual to decide what cause to contribute to with 2% of their income tax.

In 2014 the Kronospan Foundation supports the activity of the “Crystal Children” Association in Braşov and of the “MUST!” Association in Sebeş, both located in Romania. The associations provide support and dedicated therapy for people diagnosed with autism and autism spectrum disorders. By directing 2% of your income tax to the Kronospan Foundation, you are giving a new chance to a child or adult diagnosed with autism.

The Only Chance is Therapy

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which affects the individual in three areas: communication, interaction and adaption of the senses to the environment, being considered one of the most severe neuropsychiatric childhood disorders. A child with autism is different and needs the help of those around him in order to be able to grow and develop in a healthy way. For a child with autism each day is an effort to understand the world he lives in and to communicate without words, gestures or touch. He or she feels each day what it means to be different, but struggles to teach those around him so much about patience, ambition and courage.

If in the past, autism was considered a rare disorder, diagnoses have now been increasing at an alarming rate (autism is more frequent than the Down syndrome or cerebral palsy). Worldwide 5 out of 10,000 people have “classical autism” and nearly 20 out of 10,000 have disorders associated with the autism spectrum. Recent research in the United Stated has shown that 1 of 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (Source: Autism Speaks, July 2014, www.autismspeaks.org).

About the Crystal Children Association

The association, as well as the first day-care centre for disabled children in the district of Braşov were born from the wish and necessity to offer children the chance to benefit from dedicated assistance and therapy services, which are unfortunately missing from the public assistance provided by the Romanian state. The services provided by the “Crystal Children” Association are addressed to families who have children with ASD, Asperger syndrome, Down syndrome, ADHD and related disorders. They provide information and advice services for the parents.

The Crystal Children Association wishes to reduce the level of the social exclusion of children with pervasive development disorders, in order to facilitate the dialogue between the civil society and administration, to provide access to disabled children and young people to proper education programmes as well as to support projects for the benefit of disabled children and young people.

The Crystal Children Association has the main goal of creating dedicated assistance services: ABA therapy, occupational therapy for teenagers and adults with ASD, kinesiotherapy, 3C therapy (Coordonare. Concentrare. Constientizare – Coordination. Concentration. Awareness), information services for parents about the disorders of their children, family advice, dedicated therapy for the recovery of the children and their integration into the education system and society.

In the district of Braşov there are 240 families who have at least one member with ASD (autism spectrum disorders), according to the data base of the Crystal Children Association. These were assessed and assisted at least once within the association. Good practice examples from other countries, which the members of the association have learnt in the course of time, show that many children with such disorders can be prepared for a future career, provided they are early diagnosed and treated with dedicated therapies. For this reason the whole activity of the association is oriented to this goal: the recovery of the children and of their vocation. At present the association develops 3 therapy programmes: ABA therapy, occupational therapy, play and drama therapy. Each type of therapy answers a specific need of the child and at the same time creates by means of interdependence the prerequisites for the recovery and social integration of the child.

At present the Crystal Children Association provides services to 76 beneficiaries: children, teenagers and adults.

About the MUST! Association

The mission of the “MUST!” Organisation for Children and Adults with Special Needs – Branch of Sebeş is to increase the life quality of disadvantaged people in general and of the disabled. In particular, MUST! fights in order to keep them within their families, because family is the most appropriate environment for their harmonious development.

The MUST! association was established in 1994 by a group of parents who discovered in their children, beyond their impairments, the vital force, courage and ambition to fight and win and came to the conclusion that they must do something for these qualities to be naturally put to good use.

The day-care centre for disabled children was established in 1995 and is a model of educational alternative for children with severe and/or related intellectual impairments. 15 disabled children with ages between 3 and 14 years are offered programmes suited to their specific needs.

The “ALIN” mini-workshop was established in 1998 as an alternative for the education and rehabilitation of 10 teenagers with mental impairments. The aims of the project are the psycho-motric rehabilitation of disabled teenagers, the development of verbal communication and social interaction skills, the development of the sense of belonging to a group and community, the development of self-trust and trust in others as well as the support of the family in exercising its basic role and functions.

At present the MUST! Association Sebeş has 174 members, of which 15 attend the day-care centre for disabled children, 10 teenagers attend the “ALIN“ mini-workshop for recovery and rehabilitation and the other 149 are treated at home. From the direct beneficiaries of the association 56 are children, 40 teenagers and 53 adults.