A special home for special children
By Violina Nikolova
Created by the hereditary diplomat and philanthropist Ivan Stanchov, Karin Dom is a therapeutic centre that has been giving a helping hand to children with special educational needs and their families in the battle for a decent life for almost 22 years. In 1994, Ivan Stanchov used his mansion in the Sea Garden of Varna to found “Karin Dom” to stop the abandonment of children with special needs in state homes. He gathered a small team of specialists from Varna and invited professionals from England to train their Bulgarian colleagues.
During those 22 years Karin Dom built the first playground for children with special needs in Bulgaria. 1,835 children and their families passed through the centre during this period, a parent’s club was founded, 13 rooms for the therapy of children were furnished, the first Bulgarian toy library was created, and 4500 new specialists from Bulgaria and around the world were trained. So far the Foundation has held four conferences on the problems of children with special needs.
Karin Dom’s “Early Intervention’’ programme includes providing a specialist to work with the family of the child with special needs. They visit their home and, together with the parents, prepares the adaptation of the whole family to the special needs of the child. The team strives to meet parents of special children in the maternity ward to provide them with emotional help and prepare them for their next steps.
Another trademark of the treatment centre is the Montessori Group. The Montessori method is based on the basic belief that children learn best while completing activities. There are children with different conditions in this group – with mild and moderate intellectual problems, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and those with communication disorders. The goal is to teach social and everyday skills through various activities as well as prepare the children to visit pre-school groups and schools.
Children learn about love for order and work, independence and initiative, spontaneous self-discipline and freedom, and learn to make independent decisions.
The group improves self-service (eating, dressing, undressing) and interacting with others.
Funding for Karin Dom’s services is currently insufficient, yet children with special needs between 4 and 7 years of age are more and more happy in the home. Those who want to contribute to the good done by the foundation’s specialists can choose a way to do this by visiting