The Department of Pedagogy and Pedagogical Psychology of Voronezh State University has been successfully working in close collaboration with Voronezh Health Department. As a result of such cooperation the VSU academic staff offered scientific supervision of an innovative (and unique in Russia) Centre for Mental Health created at the rehabilitation department of children's out-patient centre № 11 and Voronezh municipal out-patient centre № 4.
The Centre for Mental Health was opened as a result of comprehensive work aimed at helping children with autism spectrum conditions (within the project supported by the governor of Voronezh Region Alexei Gordeyev Autism. Routes of Help), as well as other disorders of psychological development. Such interdepartmental cooperation has already brought a few significant results.
For example, a lecturer of the Department of Pedagogy and Pedagogical Psychology Olga Ivanova has been consulting the administration of the health care facility on recruitment of specialists with psychological and pedagogical education for the Centre for Mental Health, as well as on determining their responsibilities and mechanisms of interaction when developing and implementing individual routes for children. Another considerable achievement is employment of Olga Batistcheva – a master's degree student (Psychological and Pedagogical Education programme) – as a speech pathologist at the Centre for Mental Health. The Centre's administration speak of Olga as an irreplaceable specialist of early stage health care who uses innovative speech correction techniques, that can be applied when treating babies. It shows that the education offered by Voronezh State University is prestigious and of high quality.
One more aspect of collaboration between the Department of Pedagogy and Pedagogical Psychology and Voronezh health care facilities is cooperation aimed at training specialists in Psychological and Pedagogical Education (Psychology for special needs and special needs education). Bachelor's students both do their practice studies and get training at the children's out-patient centre № 11, Voronezh municipal out-patient centre №4 and children's clinical hospital №1, that provides them with an opportunity to experience real work conditions in the framework of contextual training. Such an approach is vital for ensuring that today's requirements for higher education are met. Additionally, the students do research and implement its results in real life.
Under the supervision of an Associate Professor of the Department of Pharmacology of the Faculty of Pharmaceutics of Voronezh State University Vera Andreyeva, they use innovative eurythmical gymnastics techniques. These techniques ensure psychological and pedagogical correction as well as neurological and medical correction – by means of specially arranged interaction with a child the brain structures are influenced.
Kristina Nezhevenko, a third year student, shared her impressions - 'We are making special presentations which we support with music and images that correspond to different sounds. Then we do sound eurhythmical gymnastics with children who have different developmental conditions (CP, ADHD). The main idea is to make the child sing a sound for a minute. Then they sing it another minute doing an action. Everything is done as a part of a game. The sound is chosen individually for each child. For example, to calm down hyperactive children we ask them to sing such meditative sounds as K, M, V and if the child is overinhibited we offer such sound as A, Z, B, P. Such technique expands the child's emotional experience, develops their motor abilities, reduces anxiety, aggression, emotional and muscular strain, improves attention and imagination. The result can be seen if regular exercising is provided. It is amazing to see the way theory is implemented into practice.'
Now students are developing and implementing individual cards for the diagnosis and correction of the ability to execute purposive motor actions (praxis) by children with motor disturbances of varying severity within such disciplines as Medical peculiarities of development, guidance and learning of children with motor disabilities and Psychological peculiarities of development, guidance and learning of children with motor disorders. The revealed medical, psychological and pedagogical peculiarities of such children will be used for development and implementation of recommendations for those who will provide help for them.