Function and Position of the Research Institute of Child Psychology and Pathopsychology in Research and Care-Taking for Children

Article excerpt

Summary

The overview of the Research Institute of Child Psychology and Pathopsychology, its activities in the field of the psychological research as well as in care taking of children is presented. The brief history and the actual structure of the Institute is presented. The topics of current research projects, especially grants projects and their results are described (integration of handicapped children, gifted children, prevention of social pathology). The facilities of the Institute are presented (Child Centre, Centre of Educational and Psychological Prevention) where the children with special educational needs are treated. At the end, international cooperation and connections of the Institute are mentioned.

Key words: Research Institute of Child Psychology and Pathopsychology, research projects and results, counselling facilities

A brief history of VÚDPaP

The Research Institute of Child Psychology and Pathopsychology - the abbreviation is VÚDPaP (Výskumný Ústav Detskej Psychológie a Patopsychológie) - is one of 16 institutions conducted by the Ministry of education of the Slovak Republic. The aim of all these institutions is to help the Ministry in improving the educational policy. VÚDPaP is taking a unique place among them because of its emphasis of both psychology and research, a unique phenomenon.

VÚDPaP was established by the resolution of the Slovak National Parliament from November 26 in 1963. This resolution took force on January 1s', 1964. The idea to establish a working place that would deal with psychological research of children was implanted by the University lecturer Miroslav T. Bazány who became the first director. This idea arose from the need of possessing research gained knowledge on child personality development which could be brought into the practice at this time arising a net of psychological educational clinics (later Educational Psychological Counselling Centre). VÚDPaP had this competency for the whole territory of former Czechoslovakia until the end of 1992.

The main topics after the first statute were the following:

* research of creation of child mentality and research of social determination of this process, research of mental development of disabled children and of children with learning and behavior disorders;

* elaboration of basic theoretical issues of psychological educational care for children and youth, professional management of the Psychological educational clinic in Bratislava;

* gathering scientific information from the area of child psychology, pathopsychology and social pathology;

* development, verification and standardization of psycho-diagnostic instruments (Therefore, an independent institution has later been established - Psycho-diagnostic and didactic tests, today Psycho-diagnostics, whose competency covered the whole eastern Europe before 1989).

At the begining, VÚDPaP had 25 workers and this number increased to 57 five years later. In 1989, there were 74 people and in 1992, even 85. As a result of general shortage of public money (VUDPaP is paid from the state budget) there was a strong reduction in 1993 (35 %) and in 1999 (10%). At present, there are 48 workers at the institute.

In 1989, before the "Velvet Revolution", the representatives of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Socialist Republic decided to cancel the Research Institute of Child Psychology and Pathopsychology even in spite of the scientific community and professional authorities. Their opinion was that psychology should contribute more to the improvement of socialist pedagogy, so they merged VÚDPaP with Pedagogical Institute and subordinated it under the management of this institution. Such a situation lasted one year. On July 1, 1990 the Minister of Education of the Slovak Republic rebuilt the former independence of both institutes.

The former structure of VÚDPaP included the following organizational units: department of developmental psychology, department of social development of the child, department of pathopsychology, and the center of the scientific information with the library. …

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