The purpose of the Education Project is to allow specialists from organisations working with children with special needs and their families to learn modern and effective working methods, exchange experience with colleagues and take part in education programmes involving international experts.
Offering professional development to specialists and training teachers from inclusive schools enables such schools to increase their capacity to take on children with special needs and involve parents in the educational process. Most importantly, it ensures the provision of comprehensive psychological and educational support and remedial and developmental care for pupils.
The Project finances education projects, which are implemented in agreement with the town administrations of Tula and Kaluga in Russia and are aimed at integrating children with special needs in society and assisting their families in their rehabilitation and education.
Education Project in Nizhny Novgorod
In 2013, the Naked Heart Foundation and Gazprom Export collaborated with the administration of Nizhny Novgorod to launch a project to train teachers in special schools in methods of teaching children with autism. The first stage of the project ran until 2015 and was entitled “Introduction of modern technologies for teaching children with autism spectrum disorders in Nizhny Novgorod’s special schools”.
Our aim is to give children with autism and severe communication-related, cognitive and behavioural disorders the opportunity to study in school.
The creators of the programme are Naked Heart Foundation experts Svyatoslav Dovbnya, a child neurologist and Tatiana Morozova, a clinical psychologist – both leading Russian specialists in child development and mental health.
One of the main aims of the programme is to give specialists working with children with special needs the opportunity to study modern working methods, exchange experience with colleagues and have access to educational workshops involving international experts.
Between 2013 and 2015, more than 100 people from six special schools in Nizhny Novgorod took part in the Education Programme, which was supported by the town’s Department of Education.
The project participants took a course at special school No.46 in St. Petersburg and participated in the Naked Heart Foundation’s annual international forum “Every Child Deserves a Family”.
Schools taking part in the project ran two seminars by American experts Kathleen Taylor, occupational therapist and senior lecturer at the University of New Mexico, and Thomas Higbee, doctor of psychology and special education and head of the ASSERT programme for children with autism at Utah State University. Programme creators and project experts Tatiana Morozova and Svyatoslav Dovbnya ran four supervision sessions, each of which lasted for five days. Specialists from the Naked Heart Family Support Centre provide weekly supervisions, regularly meet with teachers and discuss their achievements and difficulties with them.
In September 2015, with the support of the Nizhny Novgorod Department of Education and Gazprom Export, the Naked Heart Foundation launched the second stage of the project, which was entitled “Introducing modern technologies for educating and schooling children with autism spectrum disorders in pre-school educational establishments in Nizhny Novgorod”. The project includes the establishment of an early intervention centre and a programme to train teachers at four pre-school educational establishments in working with children with autism. Click here to find out more about the project in pre-school establishments.
Naked Heart experts child neurologist Svyatoslav Dovbnya and clinical psychologist Tatiana Morozova are leading Russian specialists in child development and mental health. They are involved in a range of international projects dedicated to the development of support services for vulnerable families and children in Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union; they are the co-founders of the St. Petersburg Early Intervention Institute; they are guest professors at the faculty of neurology of the University of New Mexico and certified teachers for the UK-based Mellow Parenting programme; they have written training programmes and multiple publications; and they are consultants on a project carried out by the Government of the Nizhny Novgorod Region and KPMG to develop early intervention services.
Education Project updates:
One of our main working objectives is to create a network of family support centres for children with special needs and their families. Their purpose is to provide combined psychological, educational, social, legal, therapeutic, and other professional assistance. Our first Family Support Centre was opened in Nizhny Novgorod.
Our annual international "Every Child Deserves a Family" forum is a unique platform for dialogue between Russian and foreign child development experts, which allows representatives from various regions of Russia to exchange views and experience. It is also a step forward towards developing a professional community in Russia.
We are supporting projects run by the legal department of the Centre for Curative Pedagogics in Moscow, and relevant projects run by other organisations, aimed at ensuring the rights of children with disabilities and raising legal awareness among parents and specialists working in the field.
It is impossible to solve the problems of families with disabled children without changing the attitudes of society and the state. That’s why one of the Foundations most important activities is advocacy.
The Naked Heart Foundation is currently working to create fully-equipped sensory integration and occupational therapy rooms for children with autism and other developmental disorders, with the aim of teaching those children coping mechanisms and enabling them to reach their full potential.
The objective of our interactive online seminars is to introduce people to up-to-date, proven methods of working with people with disabilities. They are held on a regular basis and cover topics such as autism, communication and foster care. The webinars are aimed primarily at the Russian audience.
The aim of this project is to support NGOs that provide psychological, medical, therapeutic and social support for children with disabilities and their families; families intending to adopt, take guardianship of, or foster a child with disabilities; and disadvantaged families or families in crisis.
We support projects to run summer and autumn integrative camps for children with special needs. Such camps create an environment in which children can relax emotionally, recover their health, have much-needed new experiences and communicate in a variety of different ways.