On Friday, May 31, 2019, the Children’s department of the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation “Dr. Miroslav Zotovic” is proud to accompany the last “little” graduate Dragana Vidic, who was in the Institute during the entire elementary education.

Dr. Miroslav Zotovic Institute is recognized, not only as an institution for superior medical rehabilitation, but also as a significant part of social change aimed at integrating children and adults with disabilities into the community. One such change that the CES expert teams worked on was the inclusion of children with disabilities in the educational process, when in the school year 1958/59 the CES integrated into the Children’s ward a relocated local elementary school ward to enable children with disabilities to attend primary education.

Growing up with children, following social changes, the Institute has been one of the pioneers in advocating inclusive education for children with disabilities. Recognizing the importance of inclusive education, and after adopting a legal framework that allowed children with disabilities in the RS to attend regular classes, the Institute decided that instead of organizing classes within the Children’s department, it would provide transportation of children to elementary school “Borisav Stankovic” and thus support them and their families in their efforts to join their peers.

As all major and significant changes are happening step by step, with the combined efforts of all teams in the Children’s department, more and more children are already preparing and empowering to be included in the regular education system, leaving sufficient space and time to process the individual needs and dynamics of every child.

We are proud to accompany a growing number of young graduates every year, which means that an increasing number of them attend school from home and come to the Institute for treatment and comprehensive rehabilitation as needed.

So, instead of being their home, we have become their support in becoming independent and joining the community.

The fact that today we are sending the last elementary school student to graduate is a sign that we have made one of the big steps towards the goal of full inclusion of people with disabilities in society. There are many more tasks ahead of us that we will be committed to, to enable just about every child to use their full potential and grow up happily.

Both multidisciplinary and multisectoral approaches are very important for achieving this great success. On this occasion, we would like to thank the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the RS, the Ministry of Education and Culture of the RS, as well as the City Administration of Banja Luka, headed by the Mayor, and numerous other organizations for the support they provide to the Children’s Department.