Their parents are too old or sick to offer help, and when left alone, they may not be able to cope. The Municipal Social Welfare Center in Krakow opens one of the first social welfare homes in Poland for adults with autism spectrum disorders. The facility will offer residents a quiet home, ensuring privacy, rehabilitation and contact with others.
Modrzewiowa Street is located in Wola Justowska, in one of the quietest and greenest areas of Krakow. This is where, at number 25, there is a center for adults with autism spectrum disorders who need intensive support. The building was rebuilt by the Municipal Social Welfare Center for this purpose.
Retreats protecting against the bustle of the city
As emphasized by the employees of the Krakow MOPS, this is one of the first initiatives of this type in the country. In the nursing home on Modrzewiowa Street there will be room for about 20 autistic adults. Reception of the first residents is planned for the fall.
– It is a place that is off the beaten track. There is a lot of greenery and peace there, which is very important for people with this type of disorder, because they react very sensitively to high sounds and city noise. That is why it was so important for us to create a place that would be friendly to them, also outside – emphasizes Agnieszka Pers, spokeswoman for the Krakow MOPS.
The clerk emphasizes that the help offered will be tailored only to adult residents. – We are aware that the center will not meet the needs of all people requiring assistance. In our opinion, there should be more places of this type in the country – says Pers.
She emphasizes that care in a nursing home will be directed primarily to the residents of Krakow. – We will keep informing you about the admission procedure to this center – she said.
Psychologist: the point is for the person with the disorder to try to undertake normal activities
Good preparation of the center to help people with autism spectrum disorders is confirmed in an interview with tvn24.pl by Dr. Krzysztof Gerc, a specialist from the Institute of Applied Psychology of the Jagiellonian University. According to the expert, the building is able to provide suitable conditions for people who require special care.
– These are people who need, inter alia, rehabilitation, supportive therapy, psychostimulation, peace. It is certainly one of the first and most important centers of this type in Poland, the expert assesses.
As he emphasizes, research confirms that adults with autism require different conditions from people with other disabilities. That is why there is a need for a separate social welfare home, dedicated exclusively to them.
– We have more and more situations, also reported by parents, often elderly, that on the one hand they need a respite, and on the other – help their adult children – says Gerc.
The scientist points out that the center has three features that are important for people with autism. This is privacy (private single rooms for residents), the availability of comprehensive rehabilitation and the adaptation of the organization of the facility to people with different needs. At the same time, she points out that one of the most important aspects is encouraging participation in everyday life.
“The idea is for the person with the disorder to try to take up normal activities and thus participate more and more in life close to the community,” explains Gerc.
“There are no such places in Poland”
When asked whether currently people with autism spectrum disorders can count on sufficient support and care, Dr. Krzysztof Gerc from the Jagiellonian University emphasized that “the offer is still insufficient”.
– This is changing now, because, for example, environmental self-help houses are becoming more and more popular. Some institutions organize occupational therapy workshops. However, this is still not enough – said the scientist. He emphasizes that the environment and institutions are not always able to provide adequate care to people with autism spectrum disorders, also due to the shortage of such entities.
In Więckowice, near Krakow, there is already a similar place, the so-called “Farm of Life”, run by the Community of Hope Foundation. It is also a house for people with autism spectrum disorders, a daytime activities center and an ecological farm where residents learn to work. The complex consists of two buildings with residential parts and therapeutic studios, and a seven-hectare plot with an orchard, vegetable garden, blueberry, green and recreational areas.
– It is a great thing that in Krakow such a place is being created, that it will be places of permanent residence, but also daily activities, because there are simply no such places in Poland. There are no permanent residences or places to live, as we call them, for people with autism. Adults whose parents have grown old need it especially, commented the president of the Community of Hope Foundation Alina Perzanowska for the official television krakow.pl.
Main photo source: Telewizja.krakow.pl