"The worst thing that can happen to our children?That they will be left without professional help "says Mariola, Philip's mother.
"I don't want to be left alone with this," adds Monika, Ignasio's mother.
Autism is a huge social problem. It affects thousands of Polish children and their families. At JiM Foundation, we provide them with comprehensive care. Access to diagnosis at the JiM Clinic, free therapy for children, a place in Kindergarten and Schools, as well as support for parents and caregivers.
Above all, we provide access to reliable and credible diagnosis. Because a proper diagnosis of autism, made early in life, and appropriate therapy, has a key impact on the child's further development and later functioning. Parents of children from all over Poland come to us for help. Very often the first symptoms of autism are not clear, which makes doctors ignore them. Antek's mother, says that "the symptoms appeared when her son turned 1.5 years old, but the doctor reassured that boys develop more slowly and that Antek will grow out of it. Unfortunately, with each passing day the symptoms got worse, and I didn't know how I could help my son."
Difficulties in diagnosing autism and little knowledge about the spectrum mean that concerned families are often on their own. Like Marek, Basia 's dad, who recalls that "when Basia turned one year old, she didn't respond to her name, didn't look into her eyes, didn't chatter like other children her age, and some sounds made her anxious." But doctors spread their hands. For more than a year Peter could not find help for his child. "Only a friend recommended the JiM Foundation, where my daughter was diagnosed," he says. By that time Basia was able to start therapy. Because the diagnosis is just the beginning. There is no cure for autism.
Only early and regular therapy can improve the quality of life for children on the spectrum. At JiM Foundation, we provide therapy under the guidance of the best specialists, tailored to individual needs. Because every child with autism is different and needs appropriate help. We also give children the opportunity for education. JiM Schools is an extraordinary place where, in addition to traditional subjects, children learn social skills. Everything is done to facilitate their daily functioning and make them as independent as possible in the future.
Magda, Natalia's mother, says that "changes for the better can be observed after just a few months of therapy. I will never forget how for the first time, at the age of 4, my daughter said to me MAMO" Natalka has been under the care of the JiM Foundation for three years, during which time she has learned to put sentences together, is able to introduce herself and sign her name, and is beginning to read her first words. "What pleases me most is that she has learned to understand and read emotions. Recently she noticed that I was sad, came up to me and said 'mom, don't cry,'" says Magda. Every progress, even the smallest one, of Natalka, is a huge reason for us and her parents to be happy.
Anna, Tom's mother, tells how her son is becoming more independent every day. "My son doesn't speak, but he has learned to communicate using pictures," she says. The boy attends JiM School, where he has daily educational and therapeutic classes, during which he learns independence. "He can make himself sandwiches, knows how to dress himself. And recently he even learned to ride a bike." But for his mom, the most important thing is that Tomek is in a place where he can feel safe and that " he is cheerful, smiling and, despite his disability, simply happy."
Mariusz's mother is most pleased that the therapy has helped eliminate difficult behavior. "When Mariuszek came to the Foundation he had a lot of aggressive behavior. But he has learned to deal with his emotions and is able to function in a group. He is able to play with other children and even has a favorite friend Krzys." His mother, Dorota, also talks about how therapy helps her child. Krzyś doesn't like change and feels best when he has a fixed schedule. But at the JiM School he learns how to cope with different situations in everyday life. "We used to be unable to go shopping because my son would panic. Now he is able to control his anxiety. Therapy has helped our whole family."
At JiM Foundation, we understand that autism affects not only children, but also their parents, siblings, or grandparents. That's why we provide them with help and surround them with care for their entire families. To this end, the JiM Club, which currently includes nearly 5,000 parents, caregivers, as well as adults on the spectrum from all over Poland, operates. We support its members by providing them with knowledge in the field of autism diagnosis and therapy.
We give them the opportunity to receive advice from specialists, guarantee legal assistance in cases of acts of discrimination, as well as intervene in social and living issues. But above all, the JiM Club is a place where everyone can find understanding and acceptance. Kasia, Frank's mother, tells how her family's life has changed since being under the Foundation's care. "I'm glad that I finally found help for my son and I'm happy to watch him make progress every day. In addition, I also received support at the Foundation." Kasia signed up for the JiM Club and there she met other parents of children with autism. "I was finally able to talk about my problems with someone who understands me," she says.
At the JiM Foundation, we also support families and loved ones of autistic people financially. We operate the JiM Subaccount service through which expenses related to treatment, therapy, or rehabilitation can be reimbursed. As many as 7 out of 10 parents have given up their jobs due to the need to care for a child with autism spectrum disorders or have had to limit their professional activity.
That's why free diagnosis and therapy at the Foundation, as well as the ability to reimburse other expenses related to a child's disability, is a huge support for many families. Agata, Jas's mother, tells the story of being a single mother and having to give up her job to take care of her child. "Therapy and rehabilitation cost a lot, so I put all my savings into helping Jas. But thanks to the fact that we have a sub-account at the JiM Foundation, I can afford to go on a rehabilitation camp with Janek every year. This is an invaluable help for us!"