International Forum on Autism to be held in Moscow

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From 14 to 17 October, leading child development specialists from all over Russia will meet in Moscow, along with autism experts from around the world. This year, the international forum, “Every Child Deserves a Family”, which is organised annually by the Naked Heart Foundation, is dedicated entirely to autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Four days of lectures, workshops and master-classes, held in the conference halls of the President Hotel in Moscow, will centre around one main topic – “Autism: Effective methods of providing assistance to people with autism spectrum disorders. Experience in Russia and abroad”.

The main objective of the forum is to provide a platform for communication and exchange of experience, not only among Russian specialists in ASD treatment but also with representatives of parents’ organisations, government officials and experts who are versed in international practices relating to autism.

NATALIA VODIANOVA: “When we started working with organisations that provided assistance to children with special needs a few years ago, it became clear to all of us that the main issue everyone brought up was the lack of knowledge and information. Just imagine – teachers and educators in the provinces – in schools, children’s homes and orphanages – are often working with completely outdated teaching materials. Many do not have access to the Internet or knowledge of foreign languages, so are unable to learn about current, proven international methods. That is why in 2011, we at the Naked Heart Foundation decided to create this platform so that specialists could communicate and share experience. For me, this year’s theme is also very personal. My sister Oksana was already an adult when she was diagnosed with autism. This just goes to show that there is a serious problem when it comes to diagnosis and the necessary support.”

In 2012, a large number of people who were concerned about the issue supported the forum by taking part in discussions. Last autumn’s event was attended by more than 420 specialists from 43 Russian towns and 8different countries. Participation in the forum and accommodation and board in Moscow are absolutely free of charge for Russian specialists – their organisations cover only their travel to Moscow. All the experts, including those based outside Russia, fly to Moscow and deliver their lectures for no fee, completely free of charge. Our speakers this year include: Dr Connie Kasari (University of California, Autism Speaks), Dr John McGonigle(University of Pittsburgh, Western Psychiatric Institute), Bryan King (Seattle Children’s Autism Centre, named the best doctor in the US by the magazine US News and World Report in 2012), Jo Stevens (British National Autistic Society) and more. You can find the list of this year’s speakers here.

This year’s presentations and master-classes will focus on the following topics, among others: current understanding of autism, socialisation and language development in children with ASD, neuroscience and autism, support for parents and education and employment of young people with autism.

Some of the most well respected Russian child development specialists will act as moderators for the workshops, and will conduct a substantial part of the forum. Among them are: the Director of Moscow’s Centre for Curative Pedagogics Anna Bitova; Child Neurologist Svyatoslav Dovbnya and Clinical Psychologist Tatiana Morozova, who are Naked Heart Experts; leading ASD specialist from the “Valeocentre” psychological, medical and social support centre in the town of Tula Elena Lazareva; and teacher, head of the legal panel and Chairman of the Board at the Centre for Curative Pedagogics Roman Dimenstein.

Official partners of the event: KPMG and ABBYY Language Services.

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