Steps towards Inclusive Education for Children with Autism in Tajikistan

Photo by IRODA.

Photo by IRODA.

“IRODA” (Parents of Children with Autism Initiative) has been doing pioneering work in the field of Autism in Tajikistan since 2010.  Before IRODA began to operate children with Autism were frequently misdiagnosed and denied appropriate services or educational opportunities.  IRODA was established to remedy this situation. IRODA advocates for the rights and interests of people with Autism, and works to ensure that they have access to quality services within Tajikistan that meet their unique needs.  IRODA works for the recognition of people with Autism who should be treated with dignity and respect, valued and included within their local communities.

Since its launch, IRODA, with the support of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and other organizations, has sought out appropriate educational opportunities for children with Autism.  Whilst providing specialized services at the IRODA Centre, the organization has also endeavored to build working relationships with the Ministry of Education, and with mainstream preschools and schools.

In September 2012, these efforts resulted in the successful admission of five children with Autism to mainstream Primary School Number 28 in Dushanbe.  To support these students in their new school experience, IRODA, in collaboration with another local NGO and school management, established a resource room for these and other students, and provided teacher training and specialist support. These types of interventions will allow children with Autism to be successfully included within the mainstream school system.

In May 2013 IRODA, School Number 28, and a partner NGO invited a specialist from ADAPT-India to conduct training on inclusive education for schoolteachers, government officials, and other NGO staff.  This training provided an excellent opportunity to equip more teachers with very practical skills for being able to work with children with special needs in the education system.

IRODA hopes that this is only beginning of a promising future offering many more opportunities for children with Autism to learn alongside other children in their neighborhoods.  These changes will take time and will require courage and perseverance, but IRODA and its partners believe that people with Autism will become recognized and included as valued members of Tajik society.


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