Caritas Czech Republic Summarizes its Support to People with ASD in Georgia
December 7, 2021 News

Caritas Czech Republic Summarizes its Support to People with ASD in Georgia

Caritas Czech Republic summarized the six-year project that aimed to expand and improve services for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Georgia as well as strengthen the professional development of the specialists working in the field.

Key Points of the Meeting

Caritas Czech Republic and Ilia State University’s Child Development Institute held a summarizing meeting for the Czech Development Agency-Funded project “Expansion and Improvement of Services for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Georgia”. Except other guests, the event was attended by Petra Mojžíšová – Czech Development Agency's Program Manager for Georgia, Jan Blinka – Caritas Czech Republic’s Head of Mission and Nino Doborjginidze – Vice-Rector of Ilia State University.




The opening speech was delivered by Nino Tsintsadze, Head of the Child Development Institute, who spoke about the importance of the six-year partnership with Caritas Czech Republic, including the steps taken to support the field of autism in Georgia as well as the improved quality and diversity of ASD services throughout the whole country. Then, Nino Doborjginidze, Ilia State University’s Vice-Rector emphasized our strong and valuable cooperation:


“Caritas Czech Republic has been supporting Ilia State University’s Child Development Institute from the very beginning. That meant preparing and implementing trainings, educational materials and certification programs. CCR contributed to the institute’s research activities and, most importantly, in providing highly qualified services based on that research. Caritas Czech Republic has done a great job to the whole country  with their help it was possible to establish a modern standard in Georgia".


At the event, Rusudan Chkhubianishvili, Caritas Czech Republic’s Project Manager introduced the audience to the results achieved within the project in 2015-2021 and explained how all that contributed to the improved environment for children with ASD in Georgia. One of the most important parts of the meeting was the presentation of the preliminary results of the research "Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Clinical Peculiarities and Risk Factors in Georgia" conducted within the project. In this regard, Maya Gabunia, Chair of the Georgian Academy of Childhood Disability spoke about the main tendencies revealed during the research.



Afterward, Gvantsa Chvamania, current chairman of the Georgian Association of Behavior Analysts, presented a report on applied behavior analysis and explained to the audience the importance of the association's legislative initiative, which, in the case of approval, would regulate the activities of behavior analysts.


At the end of the event, Tinatin Chincharauli – Professor of Ilia State University, Head of ABA Direction of Child Development Institute, handed over certificates to the graduates of the Ilia State University’s international certified course in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).




The Results of the Six-Year Work


Thanks to the financial support from the Czech Development Agency (CzechAid), in the framework of the project, CCR carried out activities with a total budget of up to 255 000 Euros, in close cooperation with Ilia State University's Child Development Institute and the Georgian Academy of Childhood Disability. The project was elaborated together with the Ministry of Health of Georgia, considering the priorities of the Government of Georgia in the mentioned sector.


“Much has been done and I am glad that with a relatively small budget we achieved a lot! This is thanks to the collaboration with different stakeholders with clear idea from the side of the Ministry of Health of Georgia and also thanks to the funding from the Czech Development Agency”, notes Jan Blinka, Caritas Czech Republic’s Head of Mission.


Within the project, hundreds of rural doctors were trained to identify the risk of ASD in children throughout the whole Georgia. Caritas Czech Republic procured and delivered the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS 2) for diagnosing ASD, to five regions of Georgia and held relevant training for the ASD specialists.


Ilia State University's Child Development Institute trained specialists from the regions in the use of ABLLS-R and EFL, tools necessary for the full implementation of ABA therapy. Fifteen specialists were funded to undergo a 7-module course to become certified supervisors of ABA. Notably that through CCR advocacy efforts, the municipal governments of Ozurgeti and Akhaltsikhe have started financing children with ASD.




Two alternative approaches of autism intervention DENVER (Early Start Denver Model) and SCERTS were introduced to the country in 2020 and international experts provided trainings to specialists from Tbilisi and regions. Also, three pilot kindergartens in Zugdidi, Telavi and Tbilisi were introduced to the preschool inclusive education model. Special specialists, as well as kindergarten teachers, were trained accordingly. 


In 2018, the Ministry approved the National Protocol on Identification, Diagnosis and Management of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is a guide for health and autism specialists working in the field. In 2020, the Ministry of Health of Georgia approved the National Autism Service Standards elaborated by the multidisciplinary working group established under the project. This standard is necessary to ensure the quality of services in the field.


One of the key achievements of the project was that Association of Behavior Analysts developed and submitted to Parliament of Georgia a legislative initiative that will lead to the regulation of the activities of behavior analysts in Georgia.