On December 9, the Diana Gurtskaya Center for Social Integration held a regular career guidance meeting at the Russian State Specialized Academy of Arts (RGSAI). 16 teenagers with disabilities aged 14 to 17 and their parents went on an excursion to this unique university for talented youth with disabilities.

Photo: Lyudmila Polonskaya

The meeting was held as part of the Center’s project “Step Forward”, during which representatives of Moscow educational institutions tell guests about the possibilities of admission, admission rules, deadlines for submitting documents and features of employment of graduates, and also answer questions from parents and children.

Associate Professor, Deputy Head of the Department of Opera Singing of the RSAI Elena Klimenko and specialist of the educational department of the RSAI, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences Lyudmila Shabalina spoke about the specialties of the Academy, the achievements of students and graduates. Students of the Department of Opera Singing Victoria Kotova and Ilya Bushuev performed vocal numbers for the guests.

The Diana Gurtskaya Center for Social Integration deals with children and youth from 5 to 35 years old. 330 people annually undergo comprehensive diagnostics and a three-month course of socio-cultural rehabilitation. The center has 15 areas of creativity – these are dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, vocals, drawing, theater. The media studio has a journalistic workshop and a film school where they teach how to shoot videos. If teachers see progress in development and a desire to continue studying, then the child or young person is enrolled in one of the creative studios.

The “Step Forward” project, recently opened at the Center, introduces the possibilities of studying in interesting creative specialties in the capital and helps to choose a profession. Parents are not always aware of the existence of inclusive career guidance programs, so the project acts as a link between the families of children with disabilities and educational institutions.

Photo: Lyudmila Polonskaya

So, in November, Evelina Gorshkova, a teacher-audiologist at Technological College No. 24, visited the Center and spoke about the areas of study at the college, employment prospects and learning features. At the meeting with Maria Fabrichnova, tutor of the service sector college No. 32, the pupils learned about the specialties of the college, creative circles for students and places of practice for students.

The center not only invites representatives of educational institutions, but also organizes trips of pupils to the playgrounds. For example, during the field meeting “Introduction to inclusive education in the RAM. Gnesins’, the teachers gave the children a tour of the historical building of the Russian Academy of Music. The guests also attended an orchestra rehearsal in the concert hall of the academy and learned what is required for admission and how to prepare for exams.

Another fascinating and informative trip took place on December 1 at the Moscow City University of Management of the Government of Moscow named after Yu.M. Luzhkov (Moscow State University). Representatives of Moscow State University revealed to the meeting participants the possibilities of an accessible environment in the building, teenagers also saw the educational process and listened to a lecture. Members of the selection committee introduced them to the rules of admission and the necessary documents, and at the end of the meeting, individual consultations were organized. Marina Selemeneva, Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of Social Sciences, Humanities and History of Law, spoke about the important qualities of a teacher who teaches people with disabilities, about assistance in career guidance and about creating a comfortable educational environment for students with various nosologies.

– “Step Forward” is a project for children who are looking for their calling, – said Fedor Molkov, director of the Diana Gurtskaya Center for Social Integration. – We want that at the moment of choosing who to become, the pupil already had an idea about the possibilities of Russian higher and secondary education. The main goal of the project is to introduce inclusive education programs where our children could continue their education after school. It is important that pupils reveal their creative potential, move towards the realization of their dreams, and find a life’s work. In the coming year, the Center for Social Integration will continue a cycle of meetings and outings for children with disabilities to help them better navigate the professional environment of the city.