Naked Heart Foundation sums up the year 2021
31 December 2021
In 2021 Naked Heart Foundation and its related parties continued to help children, teenagers and young people with special needs through the development of a free support system and training for specialists and parents. In total, more than 3,000 people received help this year.
As part of the Early Intervention project for children with autism spectrum disorders and motor disorders, 2909 children and their families have already received and continue to receive free early help programmes from services in Nizhny Novgorod, Tula, St Petersburg, Kostroma, Veliky Novgorod, Chelyabinsk and Moscow.
We continued to train specialists in the EarlyBird programme to help parents of children with autism. This year, we trained 37 specialists from various Russian cities including Nizhny Tagil, Tomsk, Lipetsk and Arkhangelsk. In total, almost 100 specialists in 43 cities and 6 countries are now trained.
In April,l we launched a campaign called ‘There are more people with autism than we think' for Autism Awareness Month, which aims to help better understand people with autism, dispel common myths and remove stigma. Together with Viber (the most popular Russian messenger among our target audience) we developed a special sticker pack for specialists and parents of children with autism. Stickers were developed based on the phrases that are familiar to them.
Also, we released 2 videos to promote the campaign. The first one pictured parents answering the most common questions about autism, and in the second one, an adult with ASD spoke about his own experience. Thanks to the informational support of the social networks Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook and Instagram, the total number of both videos’ views was over 870,000. Other partners included Yandex, Zenit and Spartak football clubs, Izmailovo, Fili and Kuzminki Moscow parks, Aeroexpress trains among others.
IX International Forum called "New Era: Experience, Needs and Opportunities" was held this year as well. This time, most of the speakers at the Forum were Russian specialists from our projects that work with children with special needs and their families. During the last 10 years, the Foundation and its partner organisations were gathering their experience in adapting and implementing evidence-based programmes and were able to present it at the Forum. The event attracted over 400 participants from almost 90 Russian cities. This year, there were over 100 speakers, which makes it a record, and for the first time as many as 14 parents were among them.
We also published a practical guide on “How to organise leisure time for children and teenagers with developmental disorders". It will be useful not only to specialists involved in the rehabilitation and/or education of children or young people with ASD, but also to professionals and organisations working in leisure, sport, and culture: from museums and trampoline centres to summer camps and any other extracurricular activities. This is the Foundation’s fourth book.
More than 850 families raising children with special needs obtained legal advice under our Legal project.
We continued to set up inclusive playgrounds and play parks for all children regardless of mental, physical or sensory abilities as part of our Play project. This year we opened 4 facilities in Korolev, Tver, Bolshaya Izhora and Yekaterinburg, which brings the total number of them to 214 in 159 cities not only in Russia, but also abroad. We also partnered with city administrations to renovate three inclusive play facilities first opened by the Foundation between 2008 and 2010 in Saransk, Novoshakhtinsk and Leninsk-Kuznetsky.
Together with the All-Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research (VCIOM) we conducted 2 studies: the first one was on autism awareness and myths surrounding the condition, and the second was about the attitude of Russian people towards inclusive education.
This year, the Foundation continued to develop the supported employment project for people with autism and/or intellectual disabilities with the support from The Coca-Cola Foundation, which was initially launched in 2020. The first part of the project was a review of the situation of supported employment in our country and abroad. The review showed that in order for people with autism to find and retain employment, support programmes and services are needed. In Russia, such programmes do not yet exist, which is why in the second part of the project, the Foundation began training a number of NGOs in Moscow, St Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. The staff of these organisations will learn to understand the needs of people with autism and/or intellectual disabilities, learn about evidence-based practices, and then find and train jobseekers and employers.