Speech Pathology Group: Children's Services International (SPG: CSI) is dedicated to improving the quality of life for
children with speech and language disorders around the world. Speech and language therapy is often nonexistent for many
children who need it most. SPG:CSI is committed to putting the people and services in place to ensure long-term, sustainable solutions by:
Empowering caregivers and professionals with evidence-based assessment and treatment education.
Providing charitable assistance for therapy services in low-income communities.
Increasing the scope and practice of speech and language services in developing nations.
We believe in the concept of "teaching the teachers."
Often in developing nations, children who have severe communication delays, are nonverbal, or who have a diagnosis such as autism may not ever have the chance to receive the help they need. In Bosnia, it is typical that children will not receive speech therapy "until they learn to talk."
We know that without help, some of these children may never learn to talk, will never have a chance to go to school with their peers, and many eventually end up institutionalized, or worse. It is our hope that soon children in Bosnia, Bhutan, and across the globe can be served by trained professionals able to handle even the most extreme cases.
From 2009-2012, SPG: CSI sent specialized teams of professional volunteers to provide evidence-based assessment and treatment education to professionals, university students and parents in Bosnia- Herzegovina. During the summer of 2009, we sent 14 volunteers to Sarajevo, Bosnia to teach professionals and set up a classroom to work with autistic children. In 2010, we duplicated our success at the University of Tuzla, also in Bosnia. In 2011, we were able to offer hands-on support to these classrooms and others that have sprung up as a result.
Our 2012 goals included sending a team of 15 American professionals to Bosnia for two weeks, where they continued to provide direct and indirect support for the classrooms and programs in existence in Zenica, Sarajevo and Lukavac. SPG: CSI worked with a four-year old who was hidden in his house because his family was ashamed of his disability. We met a 12-year-old who had never been to school and whose parents would lock him in his empty "bedroom" (merely a concrete room and a bucket) because he was nonverbal and had become so aggressive that they did not know how to control his behaviors.
Because of the tireless efforts from professionals in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and SPG: CSI's dedication, together we have achieved amazing results! We are ecstatic to tell you that in October 2012 both our four-year old and the 12-year old started attending school and are doing well. For the first time students with autism and other disabilities are receiving treatment, a home-based intervention program has been established, parents are being educated, and the numbers of treatment centers continue to grow. But our mission is far from complete.
We are now in phase three of the Bosnia Autism Project, which is providing advanced training to the community leaders and medical and educational specialists. In an effort to maximize our efforts, we have invited seven key professionals and medical specialists to train with us in California for three weeks in the summer of 2013. These trail-blazing pioneers will receive advanced training in communication assessment and treatment strategies for children of all ages and stages, and go back to Bosnia to train their peers, leading them through a professional transformation.
SPG: CSI is responsible for bringing EVERY item needed for training, including all diagnostic materials and therapy items. There are no paid employees, only specialized volunteers giving their talents and time.