A resource class for children with autism will be opened at the Gornostay Educational Center (Gymnasium No. 6 in Novosibirsk). This is a joint pilot project organized by initiative parents fr om the "Atmosfera" organization that is dedicated to caring for people with autism and the NSU Center for Applied Behavior Analysis. In the future, these classes may not only be conducted in Novosibirsk, but in other Russian regions. The project is supported by the Novosibirsk Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation Policy.
According to Eugene Bondar, President of “Atmosfera”, “The essence of the project is to create special educational conditions for a child with autism that will allow him to study in a regular school together with his neurotypical peers. This is what is commonly referred to as "inclusion". Inclusion is especially important for children with autism because normally developing peers provide the ideal environment for learning the social skills that are usually more challenging for children with autism to develop than academic skills. Without creating special conditions, the educational process will not happen. For example, if a child with autism who vocalizes or knocks on a table immediately enters a regular class, then nothing good will come of it. So, the school creates a separate "resource" class for children with autism wh ere they are prepared for inclusion with their peer group, and the process of adaptation in the regular classroom is gradual, strictly individual and organized with the support of specially trained specialists.”
These specialists, teachers for the resource class, behavioral analysts and tutors are being prepared at the NSU Center for Applied Behavior Analysis. The task of the resource-class collective is to reduce this support over time and to reach the point when a student with autism can independently join an ordinary class. To achieve this difficult goal, the resource class team will use scientifically based psychological and pedagogical techniques based on applied behavioral analysis (ABA).
Preparatory classes for pupils in the “resource class” will begin this month, and on the first of September they will enter the Gornostay gymnasium when it welcomes its first special pupils.
According to Evgeny Bondar, the long-term goal of “Atmosfere” is to make this learning model accessible to all children and adolescents with autism living in our region.