The Vulnerable Child
Venue : Athens
Since its founding 46 years ago, Cerebral Palsy Greece has addressed the field of education in all its many facets, including the organization of a number of international symposiums, conferences, seminars and training courses for people of different disciplines and for the wider public. These events have extended our knowledge, but have also disclosed many areas, where ambiguity, ignorance and inadequate concern still exist.
Thus, as we face an ever more complex and dangerous world we felt that the time had come to turn our attention to all the vulnerable children in the world and to organize a symposium on the subject of: The Vulnerable Child.
When we think of ‘the vulnerable child’, characters in books, like Oliver Twist and Cosette often come to mind because great writers like Dickens and Victor Hugo wrote about childhood trauma long before the great psychiatrists came on the scene. But we do not need to look in books anymore, because there are vulnerable children all around us: sick children, grieving children, disabled children, children who have suffered bullying, neglect, exploitation and abuse, but also further afield: children without families, parents or friends, children without a country to call their own, lost, abandoned children of war.
We are deeply grateful to all the outstanding speakers from Greece and abroad who responded to our invitation and agreed to share their experience and knowledge.
The common element for all these children is fear. Beyond that, each child has his/her own story.
In our Symposium: The Vulnerable Child, our purpose was not to apportion blame, because we are all to blame.
Our purpose was to bring together people, who have worked with vulnerable children and have learned from them and others who have been involved in decision-making. Also to examine what is happening in the world around us, so that we can begin to build a circle of protection around innocent children, who are not to blame for the mindlessness of adults.
We tried to identify some of the principle political, social and psychological factors that are harming children and by listening to the children themselves perhaps to reach a degree of understanding.
“The child with disability” John Coughlan, President of ICPS presentation