In our center, an expert body was established for the assessment, monitoring and referral of children according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF model). With this new medical-social approach, emphasis is placed on the child’s opportunities, abilities, interests and environmental factors, without neglecting developmental specificities, and support is planned that will lead to a higher level of involvement of the child and family in society.
The entire process for assessment, monitoring and referral of children with disabilities is monitored by a team of experts: speech therapist, educational rehabilitator, psychologist and social worker.
The professional body registers the child in the register after obtaining the signed consent of the parent/guardian, coordinates the process of assessment and professional support together with coordinators from the educational, health and social protection sectors of all institutions in Herzegovina-Neretva County. With continuous data collection, for a maximum of six months, the Expert Body issues recommendations on the basis of which a Personally Directed Child and Family Support Plan is drawn up based on the Manual for Drafting a Personally Directed Support Plan and Guidelines for Assessment, Monitoring and Referral of Children with Developmental Disabilities.
The personally oriented support plan includes all areas of the child’s life and recommendations for each of these areas: natural environment (home), kindergarten/school, therapies in which the child is involved (speech therapist, psychologist, educational rehabilitator, doctors…), free activities (course, training etc.).
The professional body continuously monitors the child’s development on an annual basis through written communication with child assessment coordinators, institutions, organizations and all experts in whose services the child is involved, with the fact that the personal support plan on an annual basis can be expanded or changed.
After the child enters the assessment process, he is systematically monitored until the age of fifteen and, if there have been no changes within a year, the assessment process is concluded with a final finding and opinion with recommendations on further support and protection of the child and family.
The need for a new way of assessing and monitoring children has been recognized by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Education of the Croatian National Academy of Sciences, and this reform and adoption of the new Ordinance on assessment, monitoring and referral of children with disabilities makes Hercegovina – Neretva County the first a county that recognized the importance of systematic support that will serve to improve the quality of life of children and families.