Public Defender’s Meeting with Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

On October 23, 2023, Public Defender of Georgia Levan Ioseliani met with the parents of children with autism spectrum disorders, who have been left without necessary rehabilitation services after the termination of therapeutic services by the Child Development Institute operating under Ilia State University.

The Public Defender’s Office started studying the case on its own initiative and requested detailed information from Tbilisi City Hall, Ilia State University and the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairsof Georgia. In addition, representatives of the Public Defender visited Ilia State University on September 19 and got acquainted with the situation on the spot.

At the meeting, Levan Ioseliani presented the parents with information obtained as a result of the study of the case, listened to their problems, expressed his support and readiness to take appropriate steps to resolve the issue.

As is known to the public, Ilia State University did not inform the children with autism or their parents about the termination of the service after the summer vacations, or any available alternatives in a reasonable period of time. It should be emphasized that the relevant responsible agencies have insufficient communication with the parents and have not offered a specific plan to resolve the issue. As a result, children have been left without therapy for more than a month, which negatively affects their psycho-emotional condition and creates a risk of losing the results achieved.

The Public Defender states that the rehabilitation of children with disabilities is of crucial importance in the process of protecting their rights and fully integrating them into public life. Depending on the individual needs of children with autism, it is necessary for them to have a safe transition and continuation of the service under conditions that are as similar as possible. Therefore, it is a priority to continue the therapy in one space, with the involvement of the therapists with whom the children have an emotional attachment and who are already familiar with the characteristics of the beneficiaries' development and progress achieved.

The Public Defender of Georgia once again calls on both the central and local authorities and other parties involved to take all measures to urgently meet the needs of children with autism spectrum disorders, with joint efforts, coordination with each other, close communication with parents and therapists.

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