“Partnership for Equality ” for Children with the Autism Spectrum


“My son is 7 years old. Demetre has autism spectrum disorder requiring long-term treatment. He is currently receiving behavioural and speech therapy services at the psycho-rehabilitation centre. We have been applying to this centre for the third year and I am quite happy. Prior, I took him to Tbilisi and there is no comparison. His behaviour improved to quite an extent, as well as the speech”, – Tamar Khidasheli, parent.

Behavioural therapy, communication language and speech therapy, early developmental intervention, occupational (sensory, feeding) and academic skills learning therapy are just a few of the services Partnership for Equality offers to children with the autism spectrum.

The organization has been actively working on the issues of children and adolescents with disabilities for several years. Its main goal is to develop services for children with special needs, protect children’s rights, promote inclusive education, raise public awareness and support youth policy.

“Partnership for Equality” – a psycho-rehabilitation centre is located in Rustavi. It serves children with autistic spectrum from 1 to 18 years old. At this stage, 111 children are enrolled in the centre.

“We are the first organization in Rustavi that identified the needs of children and parents with autistic spectrum. Since 2016, we have actively led meetings with representatives of the City Hall on these needs. Through our organisation’s activities and initiatives, these services began to be provided in Rustavi. Today, we already provide psycho-therapeutic and behavioural services to children with various developmental disorders, children with the autism spectrum, as well as adolescents with behavioural and emotional disorders. In addition, we often address local self-government with initiatives. Such as the one related to the delays in the development stages financed once a year with 600 GEL. Big problems arose because they could benefit from this financing for only two months. Therefore, we had to suspend the sessions until next year. Now it is funded by two therapies a week. Of course, this is not enough and optimal either, although it is still better. Our team is constantly focused on providing quality service and is result-oriented. Currently, we serve 111 children. The demand for our centre is determined by a highly qualified team that meets the Behavior Analysts Certification Board requirements and the minimum standards of autism management in Georgia”, – Nino Nanuashvili, Head of “Partnership for Equality”.

As  Nanuashvili notes, specialists who work in the organization (up to 20 people) actively attend various certification courses. Nanuashvili says that the results achieved with trainees are the merit of foreign trainers and specialists. Suspension of the services they receive will significantly damage the development of the field. She recalls that the threat of suspension of the given services was conditioned by the adoption of the so-called “Russian Law”.

“International funding and support are important. Since there is no support for organizations at the state level, if we do not include their private non-commercial legal entities. In fact, we have never had such assistance. Until this speciality is finally established in Georgia – we are cooperating with American and European councils. These organizations help us to improve the qualifications of our specialists. The results we achieve with children are thanks to them. I personally had the experience of cooperation with the World Bank and various European funds – I was not the head of this organization at that time. A lot of good work was done with their involvement”- says  Nino Nanuashvili

Autism diagnoses are increasing every year. According to the latest research by the US CDC, autism diagnoses have also increased compared with the last year. According to data, 1 out of  54 children in 2020, 1 in 44 in 2021, and 1 in 36 in 2022 have autism in America.

Author: Nino Beridze

The article was created with the support of the Civil Society Institute, within the framework of the project “Civil Society Initiative: Sustainable, Open and Accountable Civil Society Organizations for the Development of Georgia” funded by the European Union and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Kvemo Kartli media is solely responsible for its content and it may not reflect the views of the EU and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

The project is implemented by a consortium led by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) together with the following non-governmental organizations – Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG), Civil Society Institute (CSI), Counseling and Training Center (CTC), Education Development and Employment Center (EDEC) and European Institute of Policy (IEP).