Agents of Change: Promoting Tolerance and Acceptance in Russia

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – January 18, 2016) A rehearsal is being held in a large hall – light streaming in through floor-to-ceiling windows onto the performers. Some dance, some sit sprawled across the floor watching their compatriots. “Kostik, stand up, you’re going to get cold,” the choreographer scolds. A young man slouched on the wooden parquet […]

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We’re right here; Building a society inclusive of autism in Russia involves battling with myths, superstition and the Soviet legacy. But civil society is forging ahead.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – December 2, 2015) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. All over the world, autism is a condition that attracts scrutiny and controversy-it is both highly variable and often poorly understood. In Russia, a society still struggling with inherited Soviet disdain of anything […]

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Turning Opinions of Disability Upside Down

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jordan Reed – August 25, 2015) This weekend the charitable organization Downside Up, which helps children with Down syndrome and their families, raised money and awareness for the cause with a cycling event through Moscow and Kaluga region. The 20th event of its kind saw 100 participants cycle 100km in Kaluga region on Saturday and […]

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Organizations Host Special Sporting Events for Kids with Special Needs

Ping Pong Ball and Paddle on Table

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Tyan – August 18, 2015) On Saturday, the organization Sports Dream and Gorky Park hosted a special table-tennis training session for kids with Down syndrome and their families. From 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., 10 children with Down syndrome and their families had an opportunity to attend one-on-one training sessions with professional table-tennis coaches. […]

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Brighter future beckons for Russians with Down’s syndrome

File Photo of Child with Down's Syndrome, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Fedorishina, special to RBTH – March 25, 2015) There are some 2,500 babies with Down’s syndrome born in Russia every year. Many of them are abandoned by their parents at birth. However – mainly thanks to volunteer movements – society is now developing a more enlightened view of the condition, with some […]

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Life for people with disabilities in Russia is getting better

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maxim Kireyev, special to RBTH – May 11, 2014) Improving the quality of life for Russians with disabilities was a focus for the government leading up to the Paralympic Games. Will the initiatives continue? The success of the Russian Paralympic team in the recent Winter Paralympic Games and the state-of-the-art facilities built for […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Teaching Moscow’s schoolchildren the value of kindness

File Photo of Boy in Wheelchair Being Dragged Along Stairs

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Fefelova, special to RBTH – April 30, 2014) For the past 10 years, schools in Moscow having been providing their pupils with “kindness lessons”. The classes are run by specialists and provide children with a valuable opportunity to communicate with people with disabilities and develop an understanding of their needs. For the […]

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The first step is the hardest as the blind seek to join Russian society

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Vladimir Ruvinsky, special to RBTH – November 4, 2013) Russians who are blind want to be treated as part of the wider community, but their legacy is one of isolation. The village of Rusinovo, about 70 miles from Moscow, was once a model community adapted to the needs of the blind and visually […]

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Russia’s Disabled ‘Face Uphill Battle’

File Photo of Back of Wheelchari with Line of Persons in Business Dress in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – September 12, 2013) With the upcoming Paralympic Games in Sochi set to laud disabled athletes for their accomplishments, ordinary members of Russia’s disabled population are still “facing an uphill battle” every day due to a lack of proper infrastructure and general discrimination, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Wednesday. The […]

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They’re right here: Autism in Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Kristen Blyth – April 8, 2013) A few years ago, an autistic boy named Anton wrote an essay about life. “People rush. People swear,” it reads. “Now happy. Now serious. People bang and rattle. They’re not shaggy. They get lost. Ginger. Deep. They skin things. People renovate houses and barns. People will endure a bit […]

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Giving all Children the Right to Learn

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – www.rbth.ru – Svetlana Smetanina, special to RBTH – February 26, 2013) A new law on education soon to be passed in Russia will allow parents of children with special needs to demand that their children be educated in regular state schools. Moscow Technological High School 1540 has been teaching children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) […]

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