Boy Born a Year Before the War

Seryozha Kondratov was born in Kyiv on January 24, 2021, exactly a year and a month before the war started. Seryozha’s first word was not “mom”, not “dad”, and not even “grandpa”, but for some reason “carrot”. “But then he got sick with coronavirus and stopped talking. It was a complication," recalls his mother, Sofia.

Afterwards, Russian rockets began to bomb Kyiv.

In the very first month of the war, Seryozha’s family - 7 people, the cat Voron and the dog Kuzya - left for Bar, Montenegro. It was peaceful here, and Sofia hoped that everything would settle down and the stress would be gone. But Seryozha did not start talking - neither at 1.5 years old, nor at 1.7 years old. He couldn't concentrate on anything and hardly slept.

Sofia brought her son to the «Sve Sam» center for children with special needs in Bar. Anastasia Lukomskaya became Seryozha’s tutor. “He was almost two years old,” says Anastasia, “he didn’t speak at all, was very avoidant, as if frozen, locked up.”

They worked individually two, three, sometimes five times a week. “In about six months, maybe even earlier, it seemed that the key was found: Seryozha warmed out, began to run, play and talk, mixing Russian, Ukrainian and Montenegrin words. He greeted and bid farewell to everyone: “Ciao!” And he really liked English children's songs. His favorite was “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

“You can barely recognize Seryozha,” confirms Sofia, “he chats, plays with cat, play cars, and spends a lot of time looking at pictures in books. He especially loves books about butterflies and space. But he became hot-tempered and often fights. He’s, you know, hyperactive.”

Both Sofia and Anastasia are sure that the classes cannot be stopped. “A short break and he starts mumbling something, he swallows words, speaks unclearly,” says Anastasia. “Seryozha is actually a very kind boy, aggression and fights are the consequences of stress, illness, and war. It can be corrected, but it takes patience and time.”

“These classes are really essential for him,” says Sofia. “I see how he changes after them. And how regresses when we don’t go to «Sve Sam».”

Sofia doesn’t want to show Seryozha’s face on social media: “When he grows up and goes to school, it won’t be great if someone shows him these photos.” But money, which this family does not have, is needed to continue classes.

Anastasia believes that now Seryozha needs to attend classes 2-3 times a week. Each lesson lasts 1.5 hours and costs 15 euros.

To enable Seryozha to continue his classes, 120€ per month is required.

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