The Gallery; A portrait of expanding horizons

>> Wednesday, 28 April 2010

So, Tara's Gallery has pushed me out of my comfort zone again. This week's prompt was 'a portrait'. Tricky, that one, when you've promised your husband not to put your family's faces on the internet. However, here is Boy #2 - face obscured, as ever - last weekend at an open day we took him to at the Centre For Curative Pedagogics in Moscow.

If you're anything like me, you'll be wondering what on earth that means. Centre For Curative Peda- what?

The CCP is an amazing place. A bit of background; Russia is not a nation or society that is forgiving of those who are disabled in any way. If your child is born anything other than 'normal', you have to prepare yourself - and them - for a lifetime of fighting both to be seen as an individual rather than as a second class citizen, and to receive any help at all (financial or otherwise) in achieving that. This is why the recent success of Russia's athletes at the Paralympics was so very important; it finally gave the man on the street a reason to look at people in this situation as more than beggars to be handed small notes on the metro, or as people who deserve more out of life than to be put into an institution and forgotten about.

The CCP was one of the first places in Russia to recognise the rights of both mentally and physically disabled children to receive a proper education and to do something about helping them to experience that. Since it's set-up 20 years ago approximately 10,000 children (and crucially, their families) have passed through it's systems, some of them going on to mainstream education, some of them not, but all of them benefiting from the expertise of a group of teachers and supporting staff who are totally dedicated to their work.

So on Saturday we took our sons to an open day there, where they watched a show put on by some of the pupils, were given a tour of the facility, and - as you can see from the photograph - took part in the sort of workshops that the children who attend there benefit from. Boy #2 is building a little light in the shape of a house.

It was certainly a change from the comfortably insulated bubble of expat life where they usually pass their weekends. And we're going to go back; I think that it may even help us to meet the need I posted about a couple of years ago in helping the Boys understand just how fortunate they are...


Belgravia wife - sort of 28 April 2010 at 13:25  

I love this thanks - I have a post about how fortunate mine are - just not yet written. Re: an earlier post - no shops in Moscow - how do those poor oligarchs manage ? How was the school 'help out' ? As you know mine doesn't really go for that sort of thing...xx

nappy valley girl 28 April 2010 at 14:06  

What a wonderful organisation. And such a good idea to take the boys along and get them understanding these issues early on.

planb 28 April 2010 at 15:11  

Great picture as always. And well done on not showing his face. I've copped out altogether.

More importantly though, really interesting post. I had no idea that anywhere like that existed in Moscow and I'm so glad not only that it does, but also that it's doing outreach work so people can realise how amazing it is.

More than Just a Mother 28 April 2010 at 19:28  

A great post about a great organisation. It will be good for your boys to realise how lucky they are, and how easy it is to be born on the 'wrong side' of the fence.

deer baby 28 April 2010 at 20:10  

What an interesting organisation and great way to teach children about how lucky they are. And good photo - you must have fun trying to take their pictures without showing their faces. Like a paparazzi in reverse!

sister3 28 April 2010 at 22:26  

nice idea for the pictures, seems like we made the same promises to our husbands
my nephew is autistic, and lives in ankara
As you seem open minded and interested in different ways of life, come and visit us, it will be a pleasure

Potty Mummy 28 April 2010 at 22:28  

BW, thanks and glad you liked it. And may I just say that perhaps you should count your blessings on the lack of this stuff at the school in question (in fact, I already know that you do!)

Thanks NVG. It will be interesting to see if any of it sticks...

PlanB, I'm not sure how much outreach goes on; we were invited because we've indirectly supported them but yes, you're right, this sort of exposure is important.

More Than, so hard to achieve without preaching at them though, don't you think?

DB, that's me; whenever any of the celebs want to be photographed without being recognised they call Potty Mummy... (Maybe I should apply to A Question of Sport to take photos for that game they play where they have to guess the sporting personality in a photo taken from an unrecognisable angle...)

Potty Mummy 28 April 2010 at 22:32  

Sister3 thanks for visiting and commenting, and whilst a trip to Ankara is sadly not on the cards right now sadly, I would love to know how such a situation is handled in Turkey.

Sandrine 29 April 2010 at 05:06  

Thanks for this post - what a great thing to do with your boys! Here in Ankara we have several little centres specifically for autism therapy where our son has one to one and group classes to address different needs. He goes there a few times a week and attends the French school the rest of the time. But also, other children and adults here are generally very accepting of difference and will act very naturally with our son, talk to him, include him. I don't know if that's a general Turkish attitude or if we've just lucky. I suspect Turkish people are kind to children whatever their abilities.

Potty Mummy 29 April 2010 at 19:01  

Thanks Sandrine - that's very interesting. (And I don't want to suggest here that the Russian people aren't kind to children - they most certainly are - more that those who don't 'fit' are not given many options. At least, until now.)

Cp Bags 10 February 2012 at 05:47  

What a amazing enterprise. And such a great idea to take the young children along and get them comprehension these concerns early on.
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John 10 February 2012 at 06:31  

Wow…I am bowled by your level of knowledge. I am so impressed. I think you have got a deep insight into this topic. Could not think on those lines ever…I think you are gifted…keep going. Thumbs up!
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John 10 February 2012 at 06:56  

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