Supporting children to discover the power of diversity and the opportunities it creates
Ahead of the European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference, the Pan-Hellenic Association of Adapted Activities “ALMA” shares its vision for children with disabilities to be accepted and integrated into a society of equal opportunities.
The Pan-Hellenic Association of Adapted Activities "ALMA" is a non-profit association that has provided educational and therapeutic services, and cultural activities, to children and adults with autism and mental disabilities, since 1996. Through their programmes, they aim for a holistic therapeutic personalised intervention, which meets the needs of each child (or adult) with disabilities. All ALMA’s actions are designed and implemented according to the three values of their philosophy:
- Education and integration of children with disabilities in all aspects of life
- Support and assist the family and
- Awareness-raising about disability at community level.
ALMA works closely with families starting from the diagnosis, until the lifelong settlement of the young person with disability in a Supported Living Home. They also provide them with professional support, through Supported Employment programmes. ALMA starts from early intervention and follows the path of the child in all aspects of their life, like a parallel family, encouraging both the child with disabilities and their family, to discover the power of diversity and opportunities it creates.
ALMA last innovative project ‘’Starting from the kindergarten together’’ consists of a training program providing basic knowledge on developmental and intellectual disabilities and autism, addressed to educational staff of the nurseries in the community. The Mental Health Unit of the ALMA Day Care Center will also provide counselling support and therapeutic intervention at the kindergarten level.
ALMA calls for urgent action with a focus on early intervention to create supportive family and community environments, to combat stigma for children with disabilities.
This project is very innovative since it is the first time that is happening in Greece. The future goal is to expand nationwide the pilot project between ALMA and the nurseries of the Municipality of Palaio Faliro, and to cultivate acceptance of diversity, by creating collaborative relationships within and beyond the school community for children with diverse developmental disabilities.
Social services providers offer services for persons with disabilities. For many, these services are pivotal for their everyday lives. That's the reason why ALMA’s intention is to offer services that promote the quality of life of persons with disabilities by listening to their views. ALMA’s vision is for children and adults with disabilities to be accepted and integrated into a society of equal opportunities.