Students of the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology together with the vice-dean for student affairs, Olga Ivanova, and lecturer Oxana Malyutina, participated in the second International Scientific and Practical Conference “Autism. The Route Choice”, organised by the Government of the Voronezh Region, the Foundation for solving autism problems in Russia “Vykhod”, the Foundation for supporting children facing life difficulties, and supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, the Autism Speaks international organisation, and the Yale Child Study Centre (Yale University, the USA).
Between 6 and 8 October, over 40 events, including presentations, panel discussions, workshops and online broadcasts were held at various locations and auditoriums all over the city. Among the participants there were representatives of 83 Russian regions and over 50 international and Russian keynote speakers. The objective of the conference was to analyse international research evidence, study effective strategies, and the best Russian and international methods of support for children and adults with ASD (autism spectrum disorders), as well as to design and develop a comprehensive support system for people with ASD by combining scientific, professional, state, and parental resources. The conference was divided into four thematic sections, each dedicated to a part of the life of a person with ASD - diagnostics, early intervention, education, and life in the society.
Our students acted both as participants of the conference and as volunteers. This was a great opportunity for them to meet world leading experts in ASD in an informal setting, as well as to learn, how such conferences are organised.
The first day of the conference focused on the reports and presentations by the representatives of the state agencies and structures. The program included plenary presentations about various aspects of the development of a comprehensive support system for children and adults with ASD in Russia. Of great interest were presentations by Galina Karelova, Deputy Chairperson of the Council of the Russian Federation, senator Irina Terekhina, Deputy Head of the Department of the State Policy in the Area of Children’s Rights Protection of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Popov, First Deputy Head of the Government of the Voronezh Region, Oleg Mosolov, Head of the Department of Education, Science, and Youth Policy of the Voronezh Region, Lyudmila Kozlova, Deputy Head of the Federation Council Committee on Social Politics, and Natalya Nekhaenko, Deputy Head of the Department of Health of the Voronezh Region.
The second and the third days of the conference included lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and trainings from the leading international and Russian experts in the area of support for children and adults with ASD.
Students of the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology shared their impressions of the event.
Polina Kukueva, a third-year student:
“I’ve learned so much! They were discussing various methods for helping people with ASD. But what impressed me most, was the presentation of the first Russian book about ASD for school children. This is great!”
“I’m glad we had an opportunity to take part in such a huge conference. In our university lectures we had already heard a lot of what the conference speakers were talking about, and I think it is a good thing. For me personally, the most interesting part was the discussion of the problems of socialisation that people over 18 face, the personality-centred approach, and the methods of working with children with ASD, as well as the studies into the genetics of these kinds of disorders”.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work as a volunteer at this conference. In the three days of the conference I really learned a lot about autism. I can now see that they finally start doing something about this problem in Russia too. And I think I want to be part of it myself, I want to do something to solve the problem.
Students and lecturers from the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology also participated in the first International Scientific and Practical Conference “Autism. The Route Choice” (2014, Skolkovo) and other events organised by the “Vykhod” Foundation. As a result of taking part in such events, our students have an opportunity to get a job as tutors for children with ASD in resource classes of Voronezh schools, conduct their own research for their graduation papers, and work as volunteers with children in Voronezh Rehabilitation Centre for Children, Parus Nadezhdy.