Winter School on the Basics of Psychological and Educational Support, Moscow

From January 24 to February 1 the Winter School was held by Deafblind Academy ‘Con-nection’. The program included three blocks of activities. First, we organised rehabilitation of eight young adults living with sensory impairments. Adapted physical education provided individual training designed for individual abilities. Swimming and nordic walking in a softwood forest contributed to keeping fit and improving health. Young adults also had consultations with special psychologists who tried to improve communication and emotional skills through special training and discussion of everyday life. In the evening, they had collective workshops where psychologists up-graded fine motor skills, attention, and teamwork skills.

These people with sensory impairments were accompanied by volunteers who had experience of assistance and knew Russian Sign Language. Most of them are students of pedagogic institutes and after a week of practice in Winter School they received certificates which proved their practical skills.

While others tried out for new activities, educators from all the Russia were going through intensive advanced courses. It is the third area of work which is aimed to supply specialists from different ares who work with people with disabilities. Lectures and talks were devoted to the concept of visual and hearing impairment, communication systems of deaf-blind people, family issues of a deaf-blind person, diagnosis of mental development, and others. Educators were not listeners only, but they had opportunities to practice new skills in contact with people with disabilities.

‘This Winter School beсame a breakthrough both for us and the participants. Most young adults had never left their families, and we succeeded in creating the necessary conditions for people with multiple disabilities’, – conclude the organizers.