Autism is a term that unites groups of development disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). First of all, these disorders are manifested in disruption of social interaction and communication disturbances, as well as in rigidity, peculiarity and narrow-mindedness of interests and activities. Such children cannot be “cured”, but it is possible to help them and their parents. One just needs to know how to help. And Kazakhstani businessman Bulat Utemuratov decided to tackle this difficult issue – it is for three years now that the foundation he set up has been developing multifunctional resource centres for special children. In 2015, such centers were opened in Almaty and Astana, and a year later the Foundation established the same centers in Kyzylorda and Ust-Kamenogorsk.
The Centre for Support of Children with Autism “Assyl Miras” under Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation is a multi-profile service where special children receive timely specialist assistance. There are three services in each of such centers: psychological-pedagogical rehabilitation, diagnostics and support services for parents. Every 5.5 months (this is the term for which the rehabilitation period is designed) more than 180 children get comprehensive assistance in each centre.
All Assyl Miras centres work under a single programme, based on two international techniques for correcting autism spectrum disorders. The first one is classical, when social-communicative and cognitive spheres, everyday language skills are thrashed over with a child. This takes four specialists working: a psychologist, a special-needs expert, a speech therapist and a social teacher. Technique No 2 – ABA-therapy, – is professional assistance rendered to a child in mastering 544 skills which, according to experts, a person with autism should have. To do this, each student is assigned an individual teacher.
Whether we want this or not, autism has become part of everyday life. You can try to ignore it (“Take glycinchik, everything will be all right!”), you can fight with it trying to “cure”, and you can learn to live with it. This is an important problem that needs to be addressed, and everyone should be involved in solving it. With the support of Bulat Utemuratov, at least 40 specialists had targeted training at the Assyl Miras centres over these years, including psychologist doctors, special-needs experts, speech therapists and social teachers working with autistic children. Training of this cadre was carried out by professionals from Kazakhstan, the USA and Europe. Moreover, in 2017 Assyl Miras held, for the second time, a conference “Autism. The world of opportunities”. Teachers, parents, medical workers – a wide range of interested people gets a chance to learn more about autism, about new techniques of correction of the CNS disorders, an opportunity to find like-minded people, to learn and share useful experience.
The Assyl Miras centres are called resource centres because they are designed primarily for transferring best practices in scientific research. They are provided with pedagogical personnel and advanced equipment; integration and concentration of material, technical, pedagogical, information, intellectual and other resources of education is carried out on their basis. That is, they are created in order to improve the quality of rendering professional assistance to children with ASD. As a stone thrown in water causes circles, so the work of Assyl Miras will lead to everyone learning how to properly help the special children. And, at last, the most important thing: all services for children and parents who approached the Resource Centre are free of charge.