Foundation asks for support: Program of comprehensive support for autistic adults in St. Petersburg

We need financial support to create the first Russian service to insure fulfilling life of autistic adults instead of being locked up in institutions

Problem which is being addressed by this project

— In Russia there is no professional notion of «autism in adults» and governmental psychiatric institutions where people have nothing to do and have almost no contacts with outside world are still the only form of support for people who cannot live independently or with the family. De facto living in governmental institution means complete isolation from the community. Currently governmental facilities cannot offer appropriate support and services for autistic people, there is lack of professionals with enough training to help autistic people to develop life and social skills.

— Russian society is not ready to accept these people with their characteristics because of ignorance about autism in adults. So even if people can avoid institutionalization, they often face isolation at home and additional mental health problems. In these cases autistic people become a burden to their families, especially parents, who are sometimes forced to devote all their time and resources for their loved one with autism with no external support.

— Its very hard (or almost impossible) for adult autistic people to find and keep the employment, live independently or find opportunities for socializing.

— Yet all autistic adults have need and right for social experiences, realizing their potential and independence, as much as any other person.

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Short documentary about Aleksandr Gafanov in the framework of the Project Aut by Lyubov Arkus and Georgiy Ermolenko.

Project’s mission

To create the first Russian center that will specifically provide comprehensive support and services for autistic people after 18 and their families. The Center will provide alternative support system for autistic adults in order to ensure their equal opportunities in employment, socializing and reaching out their potential. Also that support will lessen stress of their families.

The Center will provide support for all groups of autistic people over age 18. People with high functional form of autism will get the opportunity to find a job. People who do not have abilities for competitive employment will receive recreational opportunities and supported employment in sheltered workshops. Also the program will provide home-based assistance.

All members of clients’ families will receive opportunities to participate in recreational activities and receive legal and mental health support.

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Short documentary about Andrey Dolinin in the framework of the Project Aut by Lyubov Arkus and Georgiy Ermolenko.

Tasks and steps of the project

Specialized day center, where people with ASDs will have opportunities for socializing and creative outlets. Tasks of such center:

— To open several workshops, where adult autistics will have opportunities to learn new vocational skills, to work and crate. These opportunities will include two art and crafts workshops and one culinary workshop. Autistic people will choose workshop according to their own preferences along with recommendations of special educator and psychologists.

— To train a professional team able to work with autistic adults, including personal assistants, psychologists, social workers and tutors.

— To hold regular events to support and empower adult people with ASDs and their families. These events will include meetings in the Center, as well as tours, field trips and other group social activities.

Home-based support and assistance service which will ensure high quality personal assistance for people with ASDs at home and during social outings. This task will be realized based on the experience of foreign, as well as Russian organizations, including the Center for Curative Pedagogies from Pskov (program Volunteer School and courses for personal assistance), experience of social school Caritas and special education department of Russian State Pedagogies University. Tasks of the service:

— To form a group of tutors, who will be able to provide emotional support, teaching and personal assistance for autistic people over 18 in home chores and social situations.

— To organize regular social events for socialization and overcoming of social isolation of people with ASDs.

— To create a pool of professionals, who are able to provide psychological support for parents and other caregivers of people with ASDs.

— To popularize this type of help for autistic people in Russia by gathering and disseminating data on project results.

Period of pilot project realization – 1 year.

Project partners and participants

Foundation Out

— Project’s Board that will include expert and public figures who will supervise the project and will popularize its results.

— Parent’s Council that will include parents of adult autistics, who are involved in advocacy and community activities.

Project workgroup

Lyubov Arkus

Chief editor of Seance magazine, director of the documentary about young man with autism “Anton’s Right Here”. Author of short documentaries about adult autistics in Russia, produced specially for Foundation Out.

Irina Prokopenko

Project manager. Graduate of Novosibirsk State Conservatory. Consulting expert on nonprofit groups and socio-cultural projects. Executive director of the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation. (Charity Foundation for Cultural Initiatives, 2004-2010). Participated in conferences and workshops on charity issues.

Elena Gracheva

Project consultant. Graduate of Tartu University. Teacher at St. Petersburg Classic Gymnasium, Colby college and St. Petersburg University of Cinema and Television. Member of editorial board of Séance magazine. Head of the Literature department and author of the articles about Russian cinema history. Program coordinator of the Charity Foundation for Cancer Patients Support AdVita (“For Life”).

Main items of the project expenses

— Rent for the Center’s office.

— Equipment for the three workshops.

— Education for 50 professional personal assistance.

— Salaries of personal assistants, art teachers (foremen) and other Center’s employees (psychologist, social educator, legal consultant).

Expected results

— The model for organization of sustainable and fulfilling life for autistic adults outside state psychiatric institutions will be created. This model will be fit to be adapted by the state on the regional level.

— 50 families with autistic people over 18 years old will receive support. The autistic people will receive psychological and social support, opportunities for employment and leisure.

— The system of the education of professionals in personal assistance will be established and team of 50 personal assistants will be formed. The experience of the professional assistance will be available for retranslation in such services all over the country.

Project cost

The annual budget of the Center is 15,000,000 rubles (around 500,000 US dollars), which is 300,000 rubles (around 10,000 US dollars) per family. The budget in Russian language can be downloaded via this link.

If you want to donate or otherwise support this or other project please press a button below for online donation or contact us via e-mail fundraising@outfund.ru.