For the second year in a row, the association “Autism Support Centre in Rēzekne” in collaboration with the Administration of Latvian Environmental Protection Fund and rehabilitation centre “Rāzna” organized summer twenty-four-hours camp for children with special needs, which took place from 20th to 31st July. Camp gathered children of different ages from 5 to 14 years. Children from Rēzekne, Rēzekne County, Daugavpils, Līvāni, Baldone and Rīga took part. Also a girl from Ireland with her parents participated.
The main priorities of the camp were: special rehabilitation of children, common activities and pleasure of being together, activities of invited specialists and guests. Organizers of the camp maintained that every day of the camp was interesting and full of activities for children and parents. In the morning, children went to rehabilitation procedures: salt room, massages, physiotherapy, bubble bath, ergotherapist. Organizers of the camp – Edgars and Sandra – in friendly collaboration with children’s parents offered various activitiesfor childrenfor two weeks long period: painting of T-shirts with special felt-tipped pens, making of balls from paper napkins, painting of different colourful illustrations and mandalas, as well as plastering of decorative jars in decoupage technique, which were transformed into lovely candlesticks. Frames from cardboard and macaroni tuned out to be interesting and tasteful – they were processed with silver paint; also flying saucers were interesting – children and parents made them together; children were writing their and parents’ names on lovely autumn leaves made from applique paper. In the camp, not only creative activities took place, but also wet battles with water pistols during which children had fun with all their heart, as well as parents remembered their childhood with the smiles on their faces. Also trampolines were available for children – every participant of the camp was jumping until they felt pleasant tiredness despite the fact that the weather was not favourable on that day; therefore, common tea drinking and warming under the covers with cartoon watching was organized in the evening. Also sporting games and swimming in the lake, during which children drabbled, splashed each other, collected stones and water lilies, was organized. In the evenings, common swinging took place.
Two picnics were organized during the camp – one of them took place by the lakeshore, where children fed fishes and grilled sausages, and another – at the end of the camp together with “Friend Centre”. Participants of the camp „The healing power of nature” set out on unforgettable excursion to Lubāna where children and parents climbed up a lighthouse, observed picturesque landscape and went all over the territory, played in children’s playground and listened to history of formation of Lubāna, as well as visited exhibition of ceramics; after that, they went back to Rāzna in order to have a common picnic and entertainment during which the girls from “Friends Centre” together with children and parents were painting children’s faces, blowing bubbles, playing different sporting games, serving table, grilling sausages, as well as painting common tree in fingerprints technique: “Together we can and act”.
Moreover, representatives from the Nature Education Centre “Rāzne” visited the camp; they offered for children various activities with attractive exercises and environment games about special areas of conservation, biotopes, common and protected species.
Great interest was attracted to sand cinema offered by SIA “Deserto”. Children were drawing and making sand cards; everyone was fascinated and happy about the process of work. On that day, a girl Wendy from Ireland with her parents visited the camp; they are old friends of the association “Autism Support Centre in Rēzekne”; her mother told about the life of children with autism spectrum disordersin Ireland which differs radically from the lives of children in Latvia.
At the end of the camp, the organizers of the association “Autism Support Centre in Rēzekne” took care of lovely gifts and diplomas for children.
At the end of the camp, lighting lanterns of every family levitated in the air –it has already become a tradition. With every lantern, the hearts were filled by joy about the time spent together and hope that children will be a certain part of the society in the future. Many thanks to all parents and children for friendship, understanding and being together.During two weeks together, our bitter daily life has become lighter, and more optimistic look in the future has appeared. During the camp, also parents had an opportunity to come together, express their opinion, carry out psychological tests and take part in attractive entertainment.
Many thanks to Marika Antonova for the classes in movement therapy and her Ludza children theatre for lovely performance and common collaboration with our children and their parents.Thanks also to music therapist Anžella Paceviča whose music classes delighted every children and who could establish a contact with everyone. Thanks to Laura who was friendly, responsive and warm-hearted, offered interesting activities to our children, did not get a fright and collaborated thus gaining experience. Thanks to the staff of rehabilitation centre “Rāzna” for understanding, collaboration and activities together with our children.
We would like to express our gratitude also to “Friend Centre”, Vasīlijs Pukinskis for transporting services, Ivars Daugulis for attractive surprises, as well as SIA „MS-IDI”, SIA„Projektēšanas birojs AUSTRUMI” and Līvāni County Council for the support provided.
We wish us to have enough strength and persistence in bringing up our special children in Latvia!