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Developmental Therapy in Poland

WinBren 1 | 3
31 Jan 2022 #1
Hi there! I am an English speaker, and am considering moving to Warsaw for family reasons as my husband is being transferred there. I do not speak Polish, but am beginning to learn conversational Polish. I understand it will take time to get comfortable with it, but what is the scope of working with/supporting babies and children with developmental delays in Poland? (e.g. Autism, developmental delays and children with special educational needs). I am a healthcare professional, at a senior level, and hold specialised qualifications in paediatrics.

pawian 188 | 17,819
31 Jan 2022 #2
what is the scope of working

The scope of work is less important than qualifications, or simply papers. Most facilities which are looking for professional therapists demand third level education diploma, or at least an undergraduate person. Without a diploma they still might employ you but you will get peanuts.

Try to search for ads on Polish sites to get a better idea:
you can use this vocabulary:
ogłoszenie -ad
terapeuta - therapist
dzieci - kids
autystyczne - autistic
Atch 17 | 4,022
1 Feb 2022 #3
You don't say where in the world you trained nor whether your qualifications are medical or pedagogical. In any profession in Poland you'll need to check whether your qualifications are recognised. It usually depends on whether you obtained your qualifications in another EU country or outside the EU. Sometimes it can be tricky because there is simply no direct equivalent. In certain regulated professions like medicine, qualifications from other EU countries are automatically recognised.

As for the scope of such work, in your case it would be for private bodies rather than public. I did a quick Google search and there are quite a few in Warsaw. Here's one example and I'm linking you to the 'meet our team' page so you can see their profiles.


But without fluent Polish I'd say your chances are slim. You might well be able to work with the children even with basic Polish, but to write up clinical notes, prepare reports, communicate with parents and participate in staff/team meetings, you'll need a fairly high standard of language. However, there's always a chance that with it being Warsaw, and private clinics, there may be foreign children for whom therapy needs to be conducted in English. The best thing to do is wait until you get to Warsaw, then prepare a nice CV and trot around to the different places and deliver it in person. Never, never, email or send letters in Poland. You will be ignored. Face to face always works better. You have to be a bit pushy in Poland so when you get there, you ask the receptionist if it's possible to quickly have a word with Pani Katarzyna or whoever the director is. If Pani K is busy, there's bound to be somebody else available.

You could even work with kids privately in their own homes as there are plenty of Poles in Warsaw with enough money to pay for such a service for their child. Your main stumbling block will be the the language.
mafketis 34 | 11,877
1 Feb 2022 #4
Face to face always works better.

Along with all her other good advice, Atch is absolutely 100% correct here. Poland is very much a face to face (and/or bird in the hand) kind of place. Physical presence is nine tenths of the law.

Also, I'd add then while trotting around your qualifications, dress up! Polish people in certain settings place (like work usually) put a lot of stock in how... professional.... someone looks. Before going around you might want to hang around office buildings (more private than public) to get a feel for how professional women dress while on the job. Once you have an idea.... don't try to mimic the look exactly but move some in that direction.

You have to be a bit pushy in Poland

Polish people generally approve of assertive people who know what they want and aren't afraid to say so out loud. Don't be humble or self-effacing in any interview, be calm, confident and sure of yourself.

Finally... (for now) interactions between adults and small children are (like almost everything else) culture specific. It won't be any good if you get hired and don't know how to interact with a Polish child...
Atch 17 | 4,022
1 Feb 2022 #5
you might want to hang around office buildings

A bit of lurking and loitering with intent goes a long way :)))

dress up!

Absolutely. And if the OP doesn't already wear make up she should start watching a few YouTube tutorials ;) I should perhaps mention for her sake that I'm a woman as otherwise she may feel she's being condescended to but from my feminine point of view I would say that a woman in Poland, regardless of profession needs the hair 'done', the face made up and pay attention to your nails. If they're not painted at least go for the French manicure. Also handbag and shoes will be noted. Believe me. Polish women are big into shoes and bags and you will be judged on your appearance even in altruistic or healthcare professions. From my perspective as an Irish woman, it would be considered unprofessional in Ireland for a female dentist/doctor to have make up laid on with a trowel and false nails in bright pink, not to mention rings, bracelets etc. but you will see that a lot in Warsaw.

Seriously though, you should always wear 'business wear' to any meeting/interview in Warsaw and Maf's idea of getting a feel for the look first is a very good one.
Alien 9 | 1,252
1 Feb 2022 #6
like Atch and Maf say, if you know "The Devil Wears Prada" film, look at the metamorphosis of Andy. Neither more nor less.
mafketis 34 | 11,877
1 Feb 2022 #7
make up laid on with a trowel a... but you see that a lot in Warsaw.

Maybe that's Eastern (rusophone) influence? Where I am it's a _lot_ more restrained.... at least on the job - private socializing is a lot more.... elaborate.
Atch 17 | 4,022
1 Feb 2022 #8
Now that's interesting. I'm not sure what it is but I always feel there is an element of provincial/small town people getting a university education/profession, coming to the big city and lacking social self assurance so they think they need to dress up. It's definitely a 'woman' thing because the male doctors are often downright scruffy. There's so much new money in Poland that it's hard to figure out the cultural niceties sometimes.
OP WinBren 1 | 3
2 Feb 2022 #9
Thanks for your responses @Atch @Mfatis @ pawaian @ Alian

I hold post graduate qualifications - my specific profession is regulated in different countries by medical regulatory bodies. Usually these are long, cumbersome processes and I have completed them in a few EU countries including the US. I will be trying to get in touch with the respective authority, and I do see language being an issue if clinical notes have to be written in Polish! I can see there certainly might be a need for such work in the private sector, past linguistic hurdles.

@ Atch, I am non Caucasian, and have used bare minimum make up in three decades (and more) my entire life, so what you say is interesting. I wonder if that varies across age groups?

Dziękuję i do zobaczenia!
Atch 17 | 4,022
2 Feb 2022 #10
Hi WinBren :) it seems that you would have no problem then with the recognition of your qualifications. I do think that going down the private one-to-one work with kids might be easiest route for you. Although Warsaw is a capital city there is a lot of business done on personal recommendation, word of mouth and contacts/networking. If you put yourself out there socially and start meeting people work may well drift your way. You could try approaching some of the international primary schools because, as a teacher myself, I often had to deal with kids in mainstream settings who were on the Autistic spectrum, had speech delays etc and providing support to schools could be a possibility for you.

I am non Caucasian

In that case you'll probably get away with it :) Women with darker colouring or different ethnicity often have better skin tones, nice well defined eyebrows, dark lashes etc and don't need foundation, mascara and so on. But still, go for the well groomed look. To be honest profesional women across all age groups are very appearance conscious in Poland.

Best of luck with everything!
OP WinBren 1 | 3
3 Feb 2022 #11
@ Atch, :) Thank you - it is indeed good to know about these aspects of living and working there. We may cross paths in that case, and I would ofcourse be interested in knowing more about your teaching experience in an international primary school. If that is okay with you, we could connect off the thread. Slan.
mafketis 34 | 11,877
3 Feb 2022 #12
I will be trying to get in touch with the respective authority

Don't be surprised if emails remain unanswered. You might try some direct calls (and it might take a few attempts before they can rustle someone up who both speaks English well enough and can give you sensible answers).

I have a good friend working in an institution that (among other things) verifies credentials for the profession in question for Polish people abroad and/or evaluates credentials for foreigners wanting to work in Poland. Requests that come in other languages... are not necessarily quickly dealt with (unless the request comes in Polish from a prospective employer or the foreigners in question know Polish).

A few tries at phone calls would eventually reach my friend (with very good English and well-informed) but it's not guaranteed the first time (or three) around....

profesional women across all age groups are very appearance conscious in Poland

Very true and often true of men as well (Polish men often have... foppish leanings.....).

I remember when my workplace got a new instructor (had been at the larger institution for many years but new at this location). In the first week at least three people expressed to me what a good for the unit his presence was. None of these people had been in the classroom with him... they were just impressed that he always wore suits to work.... since I usually dressed like a person facing imminent homelessness at the time I couldn't help but take it a bit personally....
Lenka 3 | 2,734
3 Feb 2022 #13
since I usually dressed like a person facing imminent homelessness

I hope you didn't have a Polish wife at that time as she would have been blame for that and you would have been pitied.

Poland definitely is a plac where you want to pay attention to looks. And not prittiness but clean, appropriate attire. In work environment always go formal. Women are allowed a but of play in their looks
mafketis 34 | 11,877
3 Feb 2022 #14
didn't have a Polish wife at that time as she would have been blame for that

no Polish would deserve to suffer that much.... so you can rest easy....
Atch 17 | 4,022
3 Feb 2022 #15
I usually dressed like a person facing imminent homelessness

So in other words, like an English aristocrat. They're famously scruffy. As one of them once said 'In the country everybody knows who I am so it doesn't matter how I dress and in the city nobody knows who I am, so it doesn't matter how I dress'. You're obviously a true gent Maf :)

"Trust not the heart of that man for whom old clothes are not venerable." (Thomas Carlyle) Mind you, he was a Scot and we all know their reputation for parsimony. Beautiful word that, should be used more often.
mafketis 34 | 11,877
3 Feb 2022 #16
in other words, like an English aristocrat

I don't think I was that bad!
pawian 188 | 17,819
4 Feb 2022 #17
regardless of profession needs the hair 'done', the face made up and pay attention to your nails. If they're not painted

I understand done hair, ok.. But make up as a professional requirement? That is debasing. It only means that Polish women still have to fight for full liberation from idiotic constraints.
Novichok 3 | 6,641
4 Feb 2022 #18
You are so right. Pimples and zits are so endearing.
pawian 188 | 17,819
4 Feb 2022 #19

Killing pimples with make-up is treatment while me need prevention - it is enough you wash your face regularly. :)

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