As part of their research project about the treatment for people with Autism in different nations, Professors Vicki Bitsika and Chris Sharpley from the BBRG recently visited the Center for Special Children in Heraklion, Crete. Called “Zoodochos Pigi” (meaning “The Living Source” – visit : https://www.zoodohos.com/index.php to learn more!), it provides services to about 50 people with autism, mental retardation and their families.
Overseen by the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity in Greece, Zoodochos Pigi was established by a group of parents from the local community of Heraklion, who founded the “Union of Parents, Guardians, and Friends of Disabled People” in 1988, and opened the Center for Special Children in 1991.
Following discussions with the Center Director, Mr Christos Tzamousis, and its President, Mrs Anna Feretzaki, Chris and Vicki saw first-hand how the clients of the Center were busily engaged upon meaningful work in producing goods for sale in the local shops and markets.
“We were both very impressed on how happy and focussed the clients were”, said Vicki. “They really enjoyed the creative work they were doing and were producing commercial-grade products, such as pottery, lovely rugs, mittens and slippers, using looms and other equipment.”
“The key focus for staff at the Center is that the clients are happy in their work, and this really shows”, said Chris. “It’s a key element in delivering meaningful experiences that have real integrity, and an example to all who work in this field.”