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Internship at Downside Up

Speech therapists of the Sverdlovsk regional public organization "Sunny Children" were trained at the Downside Up Fund. SRPO “Sunny children” helps people with mental disabilities from birth to adulthood to live full social life. Specialists from Yekaterinburg learned how classes and counseling were organized for children of different ages and discussed a number of organizational issues regarding the work of the Family Support Center.
During the internship, they took part in group classes for kids of social adaptation groups, got acquainted with the way consultations were held for children aged 0 to 3 years and attended classes of supportive learning groups and daytime employment groups. Specialists got an idea of how individual lessons on game interaction and consultations of a speech therapist and speech pathologist of the Downside Up Fund were held.
Irina Kushkova, speech therapist SRPO "Sunny children":
“We are very pleased with the results of the internship. We managed to observe the work of the fund’s professionals working with children of all age groups: from infants to adults.
Since 2010, an early-warning service has been working in our public organization, and in 2011 our specialists came for an internship in Downside Up. Even then, we got an idea of how properly build interactions with parents, and what approach the Downside Up Fund professionals use in their work. Today, more than 300 families receive our help. ”
Anastasia Kaygorodova, speech therapist SRPO "Sunny children":
“The public organization “Sunny Children” is developing, new specialists come to us and they want to work using correct and up-to-date methods, based on many years of experience and working methods of Downside Up specialists. The main goal of this internship was to learn about best practices. After the internship, we will make changes to individual, group classes of children with speech therapists. We will play more using everyday situations. We draw parents' particular attention to the importance of completing homework on topics covered in real, everyday life.
For many years, the Downside Up Fund has been helping our organization in resolving not only pedagogical issues, but also in raising funds for the organization and implementation of various projects.
Our organization strives to ensure that people with mental disabilities have the opportunity to receive services for their development freely in any city or village in the Sverdlovsk Region, can develop unhindered, to interact equally with all people and benefit society.”
Pole Elena, director of the educational center Downside Up:
“Periodically the Downside Up Fund provides internships for specialists from various organizations who work with families with children with Down syndrome. Despite the fact that these internships are, as a rule, short-term and allow us to cover only part of our practical activities, after such meetings we remain in touch and are ready to continue methodological interaction with colleagues. To do this, we use distance forms: we include colleagues in our database of specialists, send them newsletters, be sure to invite them to participate in our webinars, join broadcasts of lecture and seminars, and take advantage of the opportunities of an advisory forum.
And, of course, Downside Up passes to our guests sets of methodological publications for specialists and parents, which colleagues can use in their workplace.”
The development and dissemination of best practices is one of the main strategic directions of Downside Up. In 2015, the fund received a license from the Ministry of Education for educational activities.
Get information about the possibilities and conditions of the internship at the Downside Up Education Center you can here.

New issue of the scientific and practical magazine “Down Syndrome. XXI Century "published

Dear readers!
We are glad to present to you the next issue of the scientific and practical journal Down Syndrome. XXI Century". It is gratifying to note that in it the balance is clearly biased towards practical materials describing Russian and foreign methods, realities, approaches in the field of assistance and support for people with Down syndrome and their families. Moreover, this experience covers almost all age groups and categories of citizens with trisomy-21.
So, on the pages of the magazine, leading Downside Up experts talk about the project of remote expert support and training for parents of young children with Down syndrome and practitioners working with them that they have developed and implemented.
New fund project, a media laboratory, focused on helping special teen-agers and young people, their speech and emotional and personal development. There the guys study as an unusual profession for them as a journalist, improve their communication skills, master the methods of interviewing and comprehend themselves.
The problems faced by adults with Down syndrome and their families, are covered in the material that describes the various forms of accompanying accommodation performed in Finland, including criteria for evaluating such practices and examples of the best of them.
Interesting and useful to any reader, the material covers the problems of all ages, created on the basis of the speeches of the famous American geneticist and specialist in Down Syndrome B. Skotko, who summarized a variety of knowledge and practices related to the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
In an interview with N. Yu. Ivanova with S. V. Beylezon, “The right to work: the opportunity to be busy and necessary” talks about the problem of employment of adults with intellectual disabilities and the experience of organizing socially useful daily labor employment using the example of the inclusive “Chest” workshops.
And also, Downside Up experts share their experience in long-term planning for the development of NCO, development of project activities and principles for evaluating the effectiveness of programs implemented by the organization. Measuring results and evaluating are the necessary conditions for the development of social agents, which make it possible to improve the lives of those whom they help.
Besides experience and practical approaches, we present to your attention scientific materials on medical and psychological problems, talk about current cultural events and the creative achievements of people with Down syndrome, and help you navigate the specialized literature and current events in this area.
The electronic version of the magazine can be found now by clicking on the link: https://downsideup.org/ru/catalog/doc/zhurnal-sindrom-dauna-xxi-vek-no2-...
It is expected that a fresh issue from the printing house will be received soon and distribution to specialists will be organized.

Downside Up took a part in a conference on problems of social adaptation of people with Down Syndrome

A press conference, confined to March 21st, “World Down Syndrome Day: problems of social adaptation in Russia” took place in Moscow. Participants discussed problems of development and social adaptation of children with Down Syndrome, programs of early intervention and inclusive education, perspectives of social adaptation in Russia.

A head of the charity foundation “Downside Up” Anna Portugalova spoke on complex system of support for people with Down Syndrome and their families and shared research results made by the foundation. She spoke about problems that families face in different periods of life and discussed the need to build an effective integrated support system for people with the Down Syndrome and their families.

At the same time, Anna stressed out that over the past 10 years, there have been many positive changes thanks to the efforts of non-profit organizations, including parental ones, to the efforts of the government, and noted a positive active role of media in this process. She also warned to avoid other extreme situation: showing possibilities of people with Down Syndrome one cites successful example and may create false feeling that there is no need to create conditions for including people with Down Syndrome into society. Everyone has different possibilities and even behind the most successful example stands hard work and support of specialists.

Teens with Ddown syndrome participated in «Volunteer day»

Children in ward of «Downside Up» charity fund participated in «Volunteer day» under the auspices of companon animals`s nutrition Center located in Moscow satellite town Lukovicy. All cynologists, vets and office staff of the Center welcomed «sunny» volunteers.

Founded in 2009 in Lukovicy the Center today is a home for little under one hundred different breeds of dogs, such as tiny chihuahua, central asian ovcharka, poodles, spitz and others, popular among dog fanciers. Dogs of small breeds live in a modern one-floor building with offices, for staff only rooms, and a big hall cabined off for multiple «appartments».

«For hundreds of thousands years people live under the same roof with companion animals. They make our world a more harmonious place to live in, and people need that cohesion» - welcomed guests acting director of the Center Tatyana Belyavskaya.

Two by two under the guidence of experienced personel children were off to water dogs and cleaning. The most experienced volunteers had to scrub and flea dogs in special hairdressing room.

The day finished with exchanging of gifts. Nadezhda Yakovleva, the lead specialist of «Downside Up» charity fund, presented staff of the Center with desk loose-leaf calendars pictured with drawings of «sunny» kids. Tatyana Belyavskaya in return presented children with merit badges of Cynoligists Assistent.

Downside Up specialists from Russia learn british experience

A group of Downside Up specialists from Russia (Moscow) together with their colleagues from Yekaterinburg have recently made study tour to the UK. Russian teachers have already made several visits to the UK, enjoyed fruitful meetings with British colleagues for sharing new ideas and experiences, for analyzing different educational programs and approaches. This time their main task was to learn more about speech and language development programs for early age, which British specialists use in their work. In the light of the changes in the educational system taking place in Russia today it is very important to analyze British experience: how different types of organisations (state, municipal, non-profit) support families and how they coexist and cooperate. And to look closely at the way the system of family support for children with special needs is implemented in the UK.

Tatiana Nechaeva, director of Family Support Center of Downside Up says: “We knew beforehand that we would see a more favourable picture of the situation than the existing one in Russia. Early Intervention System exists in the UK more than 30 years and there are no doubts that family-centered care model is the most appropriate model of early intervention for children with special needs. In England children with special needs are not isolated from society: there are a lot of different institutions of early intervention, classes with specialists at training centers and charitable organisations, special nurseries and schools, inclusive institutions and also special classes at mainstream schools are available. Moreover, a child, his or her parents and teachers get full support of specialists regarding a wide range of matters”.

Downside Up’s team has visited the classes on speech development at two non-governmental organisations. One of them is “21 and Co” which conducts its activities at the Langdon Down Centre in Normansfield, where Dr. John Langdon Down lived and worked. “21 and Co” is a charity offering help and support to children with Down syndrome and their families in South West London, Surrey. Its main activities are: speech and language development for children, social and communication skills, support for parents who have recently received a Down syndrome diagnosis for their child, support for brothers, sisters and other family members, awareness-raising activities in the local community.

Another organization - “Downright excellent” was founded by parents of children with Down syndrome about 8 years ago. This organization is also fundraising and conducts speech and language group therapy and communication and social interaction skills development for children of 0 to 9 years old. All programmes are conducted by experienced specialists. In England programmes, developed by Down Syndrome Educational Trust are extensively used. In particular, See and Learn programme, which is the basis for many speech and language therapists from the UK and is a standard for other approaches to follow, depending on a child’s needs. Unfortunately, there are no standardized programmes for children with Down syndrome in Russia.

“Downright excellent” organizes and delivers classes and meetings with families at Golden Lane Campus, which includes primary school, special educational needs school for children with motor problems and Early Intervention Center “Stay and Play”, where children can come with parents, play and also pass the time. Different children, including those with impairments of support-motor apparatus, are close to each other, move freely and play together. Specialists, volunteers and parents are helping them and for children with impairments of support-motor apparatus there is also a massive park of different technical supplies. And everybody feel comfortable! This space in full conformity with such descriptions as “a completely accessible environment”, “barrier free environment”.

“Bird in Bush Community Nursery” – is a municipal nursery and an excellent example of inclusion of young children with special needs with their typically developing peers. This wonderful nursery is a part of The London Early Years Foundation (LEYF), which began as the Westminster Health Society in 1903. The main task of this foundation is to support and to offer high quality education and healthcare services to families with children of early and pre-school age.

During this study-tour Russian specialists have visited the Early Years Center Wandsworth, which offer support to young children of 0 to 8 years who have significant or complex needs or disabilities (including Down syndrome) and their families living in Wandsworth. This Center not only delivers the classes for children but also offers information and practical support to families in finding family support services and trainings, helps to contact with other parents etc. The Early Years Center Wandsworth also offers support in processing documents for getting special support of a child at education institution.

Inclusion of young children with special needs in mainstream nurseries and schools in London is an accurately regulated process of accompanying, including choosing a tutor, visiting specialists of Early Intervention Centers and getting methodological recommendations from them, and also legal support of family if required. For example, voluntary group of parents Positive Parent Action (PPA) offers information and psychological support for families, raising children with special needs.

Not only Downside Up’s specialists from Moscow participated in this study tour, but also their colleagues from Yekaterinburg: representatives of two pilot enterprises of Downside Up in Sverdlovsk region (in Project “Dissemination of family-centered model, developed at Downside up”): Loginova Nadezhda, director of Center of psychology-pedagogical rehabilitation, Zarechniy and Drobakhina Inna, deputy director for educational work of “Rehabilitation center for children and teenagers with special needs”, Kamensk-Uralskiy. And longstanding partner of Downside Up - Tatiana Cherkasova, the chairperson of “Solnechnyie Deti” (“Sunny Children”) parents organization.

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