On Tuesday, we handed over 3 laptops to the leaders of the Portage teams in the Arzamas orphanage, which was a part of 17 laptops purchased with help of the Potanin Foundation grant had been provided to our foundation this year.
Work on the Portage methodology in this boarding house has begun in 2018, and for two years, 24 children with severe developmental disabilities have received the development of skills for stimulating an infant, cognition, self-service, movement and socialization. We are confident that the laptops that we have presented to psychologist Svetlana Blinova, speech therapist Yevgenia Korsakova and speech therapist Natalya Guskova, will allow them to more effectively monitor all the processes and results of the work of their teams of specialists with children participating in the project, as well as take part in the planned All-Russian conference of the Interregional Public Organization “Association of specialists” Portage “.
GBU Arzamasskiy DDI is located a few minutes drive from the city center, in a brick building specially built for it and opened in 1967. There are 104 children living in the orphanage – 48 girls and 56 boys – aged 4 to 23 years old, who came here from various institutions and families of the Nizhny Novgorod region. As a rule, these are children with severe multiple developmental disorders – of the brain and, as a result, of the psyche and internal organs, as well as of the musculoskeletal system, abandoned immediately by their parent after birth or later. There are also “parental” children in this orphanage, who are temporarily transferred to the orphanage, but their parents rarely visit them. Of all the children – 49 with severe mental retardation (among them – 30 children in palliative care), 50 – with profound mental retardation and only 5 children with moderate mental retardation.
Children are taken care of by about 200 employees – educators and their assistants, defectologists, speech therapists, exercise therapy instructors, physicians, masseurs, nurses and bath attendants, kitchen workers, cleaners, security guards, drivers and other personnel. For example, drivers drive some children to a special school and kindergarten, as well as to a clinic.
The director of the Arzamas Orphanage – Natalya Nikolaevna Sorokina – has been working in the social sphere for more than 10 years and has been heading the institution since September 2017. Natalya Nikolaevna is enthusiastic about the proposals of partners, which significantly improve the quality of life of her wards. And we are happy that over the past two years of cooperation, together we were able to implement two important and useful projects in this orphanage – “Portage” and the opening of the salt cave, equipped this summer with the support of the company F.O.N. (TM «Fonbet»).
Work on the Portage method in this institution was started in 2018. In September of that year, the Foundation organized a training seminar “Basic principles of the” Portage “methodology in individual work with children with disabilities”, where they introduced the principles of working according to the system, a step-by-step training program, and also transferred the skills necessary to work according to the methodology.
Within the framework of the first year of work – a pilot project – 15 employees of the Arzamas Boarding School and 15 children took part in it. Following the results of the Pilot Project, in the fall of 2019, a Round Table was held, as a result of which the achievements of the children were presented and a decision was made to continue working according to the “Portage” methodology in this orphanage on an ongoing basis. By this way the practice “Portage” has become one of the tools for working with children and helping them to master the skills of self-service, speech and communication, cognition, socialization and cognition that were previously inaccessible to them.
Today, team work is optimized: now team leaders do not conduct classes with children, but are focused on supporting specialists – holding weekly team meetings on Fridays and maintaining project documentation.
As the team leaders noted, it might seem that the results of the children of the institution are not as impressive and are not achieved so quickly. This is understandable: among the children participating in the project, there are many with severe and moderate intellectual disability. And all their results are a miracle.
For example, during this time, children were taught how to select cubes and balls in shape and color, pour cubes out of the container and put them back, eat with a spoon, take off clothes, react to a mirror, play independently or keep attention and gaze at an adult, use a pot, and also some other skills.
We are very grateful to the management of the orphanage for the warm welcome and attention: for detailed explanations and familiarity with the orphanage. Special thanks for the harmoniously and heartily organized cultural and educational program – visiting the museums of A.P. Gaidar and the historical and art museum of Arzamas, as well as a trip to one of the most famous Orthodox pilgrimage centers, a pearl of Christian culture and architecture and simply sacred for every Orthodox human place – the Holy Trinity Seraphim-Diveevsky Monastery.
We would like to thank our friends from Renault Russia for the opportunity to please the members of the Portage teams of the Arzamas Children’s Home with exquisite chocolate with salt. Employees of the orphanage in a pandemic work in shifts of two weeks apart from their families and they were pleased with this sign of attention.