Interview with Anna Usatenko, the founder of the company “DyvoGra”, 2017

What is the main idea of ​​your project?

My project DyvoGra focuses primarily on book publishing and creating toys that are helpfull for children with special educational needs such as  autism spectrum disorder, peculiarities of mental development, speech impairment, etc.World statistics shows that every 80-88 child suffers from autism spectrum disorder, and if we consider that in 2016 in Ukraine there were 7.6 million children then a number of users who need specially developed literature and toys is really high. Also we’ve created an online store with our products and  toys and books of our partners, suitable or specially adopted for children with special educational needs. I am a psychologist and I have been working in this area for many years so I know how effective books and manuals specifically designed for such children can be, and how important is to bring similar products in one place to offer our clients professional advice on sales and usage of these educational and developing products.

Nowadays Ukraine lacks publications, goods and market places of specialized literature. The fairy tale “White Snow” published in Ukrainian in 2016, was our first book adopted for children with autism and it immediately received approval feedback from specialists and parents. Some of them are posted on our website . As far as I see, the market of developing products is very promising and I understand that due to this project, we will show that a lot of specialists and families in Ukraine are in need of special goods, thus our project will be involved in formation of a tolerant society towards people with special needs, in understanding their needs and focusing on this category of consumers.

What are the visions and values ​​of your team?

Thanks to the implementation of our project – publishing and distribution of books for inclusive education of children with special educational needs – equal opportunities for the development of children with mental health features will be created. Special literature is not only intended for the teaching of such children, but also contributes to their general development, the realization of the right to affordable education, the formation of communication skills, and greater integration into public life.

Until recently, children with special educational needs had opportunity to study only at home or in boarding schools, that strengthened their isolation in society. At present, in Ukraine, inclusive education is being introduced at the state level, that provides inclusion of such children in regular classes and educational programs. Due to the fact that we are psychologists and correctional educators, we adapt and prepare the best achievements of the world in correctional education sphere for publishing in Ukraine, and we also prepare our personal materials to provide children with peculiarities of mental development with accessible visual materials and books that will help them learn how to understand texts and stories, develop speech and communicate with other people.

What are the characteristics of literature for children with special educational needs?

книга с пиктограммамиIn our editions, with the permission of the developer, we use the special language of symbols Picture Communication Symbols (USA). It enables children who do not speak or do not read as a result of mental health violations, communicate and understand others. Special literature for children with peculiarities of mental development, autism, etc. is widespread in many countries all over the world. We have already published Ukrainian versions of such books and  received approval feedback from specialists and parents you can read on our website 

How long “DyvoGra” has been exsisting and what are your plans for the future? 

This project has been exsisting on the Ukrainian market for already three years. During this period a base team was created, and we have prepared and published more than 15 publications for correctional work with children and psychotherapy, that are represented in more than 25 cities in Ukraine and abroad, we have a stable growth of financial indicators. My team and I see the development of our project in expanding the sales network, in cooperation with professional communities, the sustainability of our project is confirmed by the stable demand of families and professionals that are tangent to the problem of children with special educational needs development. I also see the stability of our project in the fact that in the creating of publications we are guided by the best examples of such literature in Europe and all over the world. Nowadays such literature is not represented on the Ukrainian market, and, looking at the experience of our partners, authors and publishers from Italy, Spain, Poland, etc., we can see how their activities provoked demand in their countries and influenced society to make people understand that children with special educational needs can also receive affordable training and have the right to develop their own abilities through accessible methods and decent living. I work officially as an entrepreneur, I have contracts with more than 50 enterprises and stores that sell our products. The stability of our business is provided, above all, by transparent methods of conducting activities in the legal field of Ukraine. All our products have registered copyrights, and we have plans to sale copyrights for re-publishing on the international market.