Children and adolescents with disabilities
When a child has a disability or illness that occurs at birth or at a later stage, care and support for the child is needed, but support for the coping of the rest of the family is also needed. Help at home can be obtained from children's well-being services and disability services, depending on the needs of the family.
If you need communication that supports and compensates for speech in your daily life, you may receive communication instruction.
Communication instruction can, for example, include practising sign language or the use of communication tools that support and compensate for speech. Instruction can be arranged in your home as family instruction, in a group or as distance learning. Your family members will learn common communication methods with you.
You can apply for a voucher for a course where you learn a particular method of communication.
Communication instruction does not replace speech therapy or guidance given by a speech therapist. Nor does it replace the assessment of communication aids included in medical rehabilitation.
Communication instruction is applied for from Disability Services. The application must be accompanied by a recommendation and an epicrisis or other statement about the applicant’s functional ability. A recommendation on communication instruction can be drawn up by the following parties:
- a party responsible for the care and rehabilitation of a person with a speech disability (e.g. a speech therapist, speech pathologist or doctor), who assesses the need of the person with a speech disability for communication instruction and the form and amount of the instruction
- in the case of a person with a hearing disability, any other professional who knows the person’s communication needs and is able to identify the most appropriate form of communication instruction (e.g. a rehabilitation secretary or rehabilitation instructor).
Morning and afternoon care and holiday care can be arranged for schoolchildren and young people with intellectual disabilities or severe autism.
The service is intended for people who are unable to be alone at home before or after the day of study and during the holidays of educational institutions. The aim is to make it possible for the parents to work.
The care facilities are located in designated schools in Espoo. The service is applied for from Disability Services. Once the decision has been made, the care is registered for through Espoo’s Finnish Education Unit.
The registration for morning and afternoon care must be carried out each academic year. Holiday care is registered for separately for each holiday season.
A child or an adolescent with a disability may be offered short-term care in a private family or in housing units.
Coaching for independent living refers to a fixed-term practice period during which the independent living skills of a person with a disability are assessed.
Home service for families with children
Home service for families with children is intended for situations where the functional capacity of the parents has decreased. Such situations may include the birth of child with disabilities or unexpected injury or illness of a family member. In home service, the carer can take care of the children or help the parents with household work. If necessary, the carer can also spend time with the children outside the home.
Disability Services provide home service to their clients as an outsourced service when the criteria are met. As a rule, the service is subject to a fee for the client, and the fee is earnings-related.
Disability Services provide care assistance as special care for persons with severe intellectual disabilities when the care of the child is demanding or binding and the need cannot be met with home care or other basic services. In this case, the care takes place at the home of the person being cared for, but the carer can also spend time outside the home with the person being cared for. Care assistance may include medical duties.
Care assistance is carried out as an outsourced service. Care assistance organised as special care is free of charge.
Cleaning assistance or home care assistance
You can buy cleaning assistance or home care assistance VAT-free if your ability to cope at home is impaired due to a stressful life situation, such as a sick or disabled family member living at home.
You can find service providers and instructions for cleaning assistance, renovation assistance, home care or yard work, for example, at www.elias.fi (external link)(extrernal link).
Support relationship activities support the development of skills, independence and social relationships of a child and an adolescent with disabilities.
The volunteer support person acts as a friend and companion of the supported person at home or away from home, for example at the cinema or theatre or when running errands. However, the support person is not an assistant.
The support person may be an acquaintance of the person with a disability with whom Disability Services make an agreement. The support person and the supported person meet 1–4 times a month. Disability Services pay a small compensation to the support person.
Depending on the client’s needs, it is assessed whether the support person should be a trained professional support person. Professional support activities are a form of goal-oriented and fixed-term support.
In the case of children with intellectual disabilities, early childhood education can be provided as special care if
- the need is based on ensuring the individual care of the child
- the purpose of the day care is to promote the child’s ability to perform their daily activities.
A diagnosis of intellectual disability is not in itself a sufficient reason to include day care in a special care programme.
As a rule, early childhood education of children with disabilities is organised in accordance with the Act on Early Childhood Education and Care. In early childhood education, every child is provided with the necessary growth and learning support in the form of general, intensified or special support. In Espoo, Finnish Early Childhood Education is responsible for the preparation of the early childhood education plan and the implementation of the child’s individual early childhood education.
In Espoo, early childhood education is designed individually as a collaboration between Early Childhood Education and Family and Social Services, taking into account the child’s care needs, the facilities and assistive devices needed, transport and other issues related to care. In the case of children in need of support, care is taken to ensure that the facilities for day care are accessible and that the play environment is accessible to children.
Early childhood education organised as special care is free of charge to parents. The service is applied for from Disability Services. The application must be accompanied by a support plan made in early childhood education.