Nagymaros is a small town, situated on the Danube Band. Inhabitant is nearly 5,000, where the national statistics disproving been growing birth rate and population. As a result, the youth generation of the town gets the most attention.
There are six organizations, which are dealing with handicapped children and adults.
,, Early Development of Small Maros,, under the direction of Anna Rita Rétiné Szalai begins to care about and to develop disabled children in their early age.
Dr. Eszter Borkó Hetényi teacher as the leader of ,,Vándor Vackor and Public Benefit Foundation,, holds individualized riding therapy to hearing impairment and premature infant children, and to those who suffer from congenital diseases.
Support Service of Nagymaros, as part of the diocese of Vác attends six villages in its area. It is responsible for transporting handicapped children to various special schools of Vác. Furthermore, it deals with home care, as well as organizes different cultural programs, such as excursions, cinema and theater visits, Christmas party etc.
Pax Corporis Foundation has been active in Nagymaros since 2010. Head of the foundation Dr. Annamária Rendessy, beside responsible for the medical service, she pays great attention to support handicapped people in the town, and assists their parents in questions of mental hygiene.
Two urban institutions deal with disabled children, who are integrated into the public educational system.
„Smile” Child Welfare and Family Service Office brings together three municipalities. Its important task is to support families where there is a child with learning difficulties, who can hardly meet requirements in the school. Furthermore, this organization helps to socially backward families. Volunteers deal with children on the afternoons.
The Educational Consultant is a separate institution, but it is closely related to the life of the primary school. Teachers of handicapped make tests on children are age of 4 for discovering and filtering problems like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and autistic symptoms. A child, who has one or more of these problems, can start or continue the education in the primary school, but additional care is required. This office organizes occasions individually or in small groups. The school psychologist deals with anxious and hyperactive children as well.
The above institutions are in good relationship with each other and they continuously discuss about the problems, trying to join their sources to help to handicapped people in Nagymaros and its surroundings.
Best Practice Examples for Inclusion:
“Inclusion of social life”
Our participation in the In-Town project pointed to the problem that although Nagymaros has several institutions which are involved to support disabled and handicapped people, but there is not so many opportunity to solve the integration of these kind of people. NGOs and volunteers regularly organize trips for them in the area and cinema and theatre visits (2-3 times per month). Support Service of Nagymaros takes care of the transportation. Handicraft classes are organized during Advent season, where children can make cookies, prepare Christmas decoration. The pupils of the local primary school show Bethlehem’s play at nursing home in Nagymaros every year.The local institutions are trying to involve poor and needy inhabitants into the social life of the town too.
“Sport, as tool for the integration”
Nagymaros organized the meeting about inclusion of sport in September 2014. During the meeting, we could see demonstration of riding therapy and basketball. The team played with pupils from primary school of Nagymaros. The leader of the basketball team emphasized that they consider their games and shows as a mission. That was why so important and great to be able to visit our town. Pupils were also glad to participate in the game.
Unfortunately, there aren’t so much opportunities of sport for disabled, handicapped people in our town, although we can be proud of Wohner Farkas for example, who won gold medal on Taivan’s Olympic game (special Olympiad).
However, we can report about success stories also. Riding therapy started to develop rapidly few years ago, and this activity is the most popular nowadays. Dr. Eszter Borkó Hetényi and her therapeutic riding school achieved several successes on many national competitions in the recent years.
She thinks it is very important during the sessions is to create perfect conditions for the training, establish spiritual calm for children and eliminate any outer disturbances. The project participants could visit Táltos Riding School, where Szilvia Mészáros – director of the school was pleased to demonstrate this beautiful sport.
Last, but not least there is great tradition of water sports in Nagymaros, such as canoe (Andrea Pitz, Kálmán Petrovics, Béla Petrovics are world champions) and canoe polo.
Nowadays the popularity of other kind of sports (football, basketball, running and fitness) increases. "Street Championship" in Nagymaros will be organized second time in this year. This event is held on 1st of May. The main purpose of this program to offer competition and several activities for all citizens of Nagymaros independently of their age and health condition. It is a very famous day of the local social life. The result is a satisfied and happy community that holds together the love of the sport.
“Inclusion of fine art”
We can know more about the world with the help of the art. The pleasure of creation motivates the students, their social skills can be extended thereby complex effect of personal development can be achieved. Many examples we have seen during the In-Town project. For example, the night painting in Grevesmühlen, shaping clay with bandaged eyes in Nagymaros and Swedish creative/ art common house. We knew particularly good example in Loures with the painted house walls. This method, technique could be also work in Hungary for reducing the social segregation.
Famous artists’ colony existed in Nagymaros in the 70’s, which has almost over. However, a young generation has grown up and we can be seen beautiful examples of the art of collaboration. Sigil Gallery opened two years ago, where local artists can exhibit of their works regularly. The local creative teachers can be found on common events in Nagymaros. During these occasions, participants are introduced to the pleasure of creation.
There is no integrated educational system in Nagymaros, however, students should know more about disabilities members of society, such as blind, deaf and handicapped children for developing student’s empathy and emotional intelligence. Improving the communication is the key element for cognition of these kind of people. That is the reason why would be useful if students could be familiar with sign language and Braille. Nowadays adoption and acceptance of foreign cultures are more and more natural therefore, crucial that students should be prepared for that. Pedagogics have important function in this process.
It should helped human being to get rid of the stranger, overcome fearing from someone / something else. Forming public and common communication and knowing each other are essential for achieving this target. Personal contact is also necessary, which is more difficult in a life of a smaller, isolated community.
It is important that disabled, handicapped and people with other cultures not being outsiders, but being real part of our society.
“Function of the music in developing of disabled people”
Professor Andás Pető in the 1940s created a unique educational system for adults and children who have motor disorders of neurological origin. The conductive education system provides the opportunity for evolving all-round personality, nevertheless it allows the cooperation, interaction in the group and prepares the person to the real integration.
The basic idea of the theory is the central nervous system has still reserves and it can build new relationships despite its damages. These abilities can be mobilized with adequate control of the learning process. Today, the International Pető Institute of Conductive Education has become a worldwide intellectual, research and training center. The main target of the school of Pető Institute to teach, educate, give people joy and support them with establishing good environment, community in the school.
The music creates community. The music is source of enjoyment. The music teaches. The music is for everyone. Those too, who cannot visit concert halls. There is a wise saying in Hungarian language: if the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain. This expresses that if someone or something does not or cannot come to us, than we have to go. Therefore, that is how the music entered into the school. Within a year, more than a hundred musicians attended there. The meaningful moments are not only for learning, but also for the enjoyment and experience of the community. Students gained a lot of knowledge about musical instruments and musical genres.
Which project has made the biggest impression on us?
n-Town project not only drew attention to the importance of integration, but we could see some practical examples on different locations. We had deep emotional impressions several times, when we visited institutions and we could meet people who have made their lives for taking care of others. Especially Carlos Mota became the most likeable for us, who's behind are likeable personality, empathic skills and strong results. We could see his human capabilities, as he took care about his pupils and motivated them during meeting in Nagymaros. He awarded coach of the year prize as we could get to know in Loures, which was deserved, honestly.
We could visit a factory in Grevesmühlen, where disabled people are able to work. This is very important for us because our town plans to establish a similar enterprise. Design and layout of the factory and division of labour were particularly impressive. We could get an insight into the Swedish school system in Laxa, which we have heard about so far. Teaching methods and teachers' professionalism impressed us. The education system's philosophy is not only practical, but it is also humanitarian, because after graduation, the system provides support for getting into the world of work. We are pleased that we could get to know more about integration system of the participating countries.
How can we improve social developments in our countries?
We saw some good practice and system (educational integration) from different countries. It is clearly known, that state-level developments and changes are needed for improvements in our country. Unfortunately, the opposite has happened few years ago: some factory, which employed handicapped people, closed, social benefits were reduced, as well as supporting associations of disabled were almost disappeared.
Nowadays economic sector is changing in positive way and it seems that these changes will affect positively the social sector too, which means that the support will be more intensive in the upcoming years. It was begun to develop the educator career, which one segment of professional training opportunities in addition to increased salaries. Following developments are in the social and health sectors also planning to improve.
Inclusion does not appear uniformly in the Hungarian education. Although integration efforts are stronger, but optimal development of the handicapped children should be improved. It is common the “cold integration” without the formal integration of personnel and material conditions.
Children with learning difficulties learn in mainstream educational system, but handicapped children are taught in segregated institutions.
Creating and spreading of inclusive schools in Hungary needs renewal of public educational system, renewal of complex technical tools and pedagogical systems should be also rethinking.
Changing of professional attitude is needed in the following areas:
In addition, it would be essential to raise the salary of teachers and improve significantly the financing of public education.
In terms of philosophy of think globally, act locally, Nagymaros would like to focus more strongly to emphasize the integration of education. Especially tools of sport and art.
What did the project give us?
Beyond that we have met lot of nice and kind people during the visits, we have learnt so many practices, and saw good examples about how to make the life of disabled children and adults easier.
We were impressed about visit of a factory, which employed people with disabilities in Grevesmühlen. Particularly appealing is that kind of attention, and care, which they got during the work. We saw and experienced personally how wonderful they feel themselves. We had the pleasure to talk with them. It was especially likeable to see that free time activities are organized on afternoons, for example playing music with Mike Reschke, and playing and drawing club with Heidrun Lange.
The educational system was our favorite issue in Sweden. Handicapped and healthy children can learn together in the same school. This is one of the highest level of integration what we have met. The educational system in Hungary is segregated, which means that children with disabilities have to learn separately. We believe it is very important that children should get to know that, different,, children are existing too. It is useful for their personal developing and creating their open mind view. The result would be more easily acceptance and support of handicapped people by the society.
The visited institutions and boarding school were impressed us in Portugal. It was nice to see that how comfortable places are and the nurses were very kind and gentle. Well-trained teachers, good facilities and well-organized educational system welcomed us. We are very proud to know „coach of the year”, Carlos.
We could not experience the Polish system personally, but we saw many good examples through presentations. We heard about there are several good professional trainers in Grzmiąca.
We think, we have learnt a lot and have seen good practices.
Although our actual financial possibilities cannot enable to establish similar educational institutions in our little town now, but we already being closer to achieve our plans and dreams with participation in the project. This was the first steps for reaching great successes. There are so many good examples that small steps have huge positive results too.
In which topic can we imagine to exchange of experience?
Both professional contacts and personal friendships formed during the meetings.
We are very proud of the twin city agreement with Grevesmühlen, what was signed in Nagymaros in 2014. The civil and official cooperation between the two towns has been working since '60s. We look forward to continue our relationship further student exchange programs and cultural cooperation.
Furthermore, we intend to improve the integration of handicapped people in fields of sport and art education in the local primary school. We consider the importance of changing the experiences, and asking support and opinion of those professionals, who have many years of experience.