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 Children  Russia Project #21571

Children in Motion: Together is Better

by Regional Society of Disabled People Perspektiva
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better
Children in Motion: Together is Better

Yura, a third-grader in Moscow School # 709, used to spend Physical Education (PE) class sitting on the bench and his evenings playing computer games. Yura has a gallstone disorder, and his parents were worried about letting him play active sports.

But that all changed when the school Yura attends joined the Nike project “Children in Motion: Together is Better!” As part of the project, Yura met the world-famous soccer player Ronaldo at Gorky Park in Moscow. That shook up Yura’s world: he instantly became a soccer fan. He followed the Russian team in the 2018 World Cup and then decided that he wanted to go out onto the field and play himself. “I love soccer more than anything!” he said. “I love to play with the team. If I’m a forward, I try to make goals. If I’m a goalie — I try to stop them!”

Specialists from the disability NGO Perspektiva held training sessions for the school teachers on adapting PE for kids with disabilities or special education needs and taught them the main principles of inclusive sports. For Yura, his PE teacher Vladimir saw that they needed to begin with non-contact sports before sending him out onto the soccer field. “There are a lot of games, like “pass the ball” where the kids pass the ball to the player in front, or “sniper” where they need to get the ball through the hoop more than their competitors. These games are part of the training for soccer and basketball, and they help the kids get over their fear of being hit by the ball. They learn skills, too — how to catch, throw and pass the ball,” Vladimir explained.

And so gradually, step by step, Yura began to play soccer. And now it’s his favorite team sport. And why not? Playing on the field is great fun. Yura has made new friends, too, and is more and more confident in himself and his abilities.

Yura’s mother, Yelena, is really happy for him. “Now my son kicks around the ball in the courtyard with his friends, not just in PE class. He dreams of becoming the best goalie in the world!”

Sasha, a fifth grader in Moscow Elementary School # 31, has cerebral palsy. Like many kids with cerebral palsy, at first he had problems with coordination and fine motor skills, and he was unsteady on his feet.

Who would have thought that a boy with these kinds of physical disabilities would become the forward for the district soccer team?

Sasha began to believe in himself after he got involved in Perspektiva’s project “Children in Motion: Together is Better!” Perspektiva – a disability NGO -- brought famous athletes with disabilities to school and held workshops on Paralympic sports. After Sasha met Igor Lomakin, a champion of World Amputee Football, he got a bee in his bonnet, and he realized that he, too, could become a football star.

For three years, he trained in mini-football. Gennady, Sasha’s physical education teacher, said, “Now we’re working on his tactical game. He’s got good technique, great stamina and fast reactions. He moves the ball forward so fast that even kids who are older than him have a hard time catching him.”  He added that, “Training really helped him open up. He was a very timid, shy kid. He even moved timidly. Now that he’s been hanging out with the other kids, he’s more sure of himself.”

Sasha’s mother, Elena, said that the sports training hasn’t just improved his physical development. It has had a positive effect on his social adaptation, too. In the past, Sasha needed more help to understand things that her younger son got right away. But now, Elena said, “Since the training he’s making connections faster and so he is more natural and confident when he’s with his peers. He has new friends and new kids to hang out with on the street — something he never had before at all. This is the result of team sports.”

After every match, Sasha tells his mother how his team played. His team took third place in the Moscow city games. Sasha has set himself a goal — to bring the team to first place. “I love football! I love to play with the team and hit goals. And I’m good at it!”

Sasha, who is in third grade at school 2010 in Moscow, used to spend Physical Education (PE) classes on the bench watching other kids play sports. He has a rare disability with progressive deterioration of the hip joint and the doctors did not allow him to attend PE classes.   Then, everything changed when Perspektiva’s sports team, as part of the project “Children in Motion: Together is better”, which Nike supports, started holding activities at the school for both kids and the teachers.  Perspektiva staff, which includes athletes with disabilities, traveled to the school to demonstrate different adapted sports activities and to encourage the children to become involved in playing adapted sports. The kids met with wheelchair rugby players, a power lifter of short stature, and wheelchair basketball players and the athletes talked about their achievements and lives off the playing field.  The kids not only had the opportunity to watch the athletes but to get into the wheelchairs, and try their hand at other adapted sports activities. Perspektiva’s team held workshops for all of the kids and for the teachers and, when Sasha saw this, he realized that he too could play sports, have fun, and even compete and win.

Dmitry, Sasha’s PE teacher, not only supported the adapted sports activities at their school, he attended four of Perspektiva’s trainings on adaptive physical education at other venues and consulted with staff at Perspektiva. He learned about adaptive PE, about ways to include Sasha into his classes and in after-school sports at their school.  He returned to his school and developed a PE plan for Sasha so that he could participate and use, above all, his upper body.   Sasha cannot squat, or bend, but he can throw and catch the ball and so much more.  Dmitry consulted with Sasha’s parents and soon Sasha began playing basketball. Dmitry adapted the game for Sasha and all the kids. Now Sasha loves going to his PE class and plays tennis, basketball, and volleyball with his classmates.  Finally, his parents and teachers understand that kids with disabilities can play sports but they just need the right adaptations.

A year and a half ago parents of 10-year-old Vlad and Veronika wouldn’t have believed that their twins, who have cerebral palsy, would both be forwards on one of St. Petersburg’s children’s sledge hockey teams. They are the only brother and sister on the same team in the league. 

They found out about sledge hockey and other Paralympic sports when they attended inclusive sports activities, organized byPerspektiva as part of its project “Children in Motion. Together is Better.”  For the first time, Vlad and Veronika met disabled athletes. They never imagined it was possible for someone in a wheelchair to be so fast and so agile. The kids realized they could play sports too and chose sledge hockey.  They also went with other kids to the Confederation Cup soccer match. The stadium was fully accessible and for the first time they watched football with their peers.

 Sledge hockey is a contact sport that is practiced and played in the cold, and kids get bruises and pulled muscles. At first, the twins’ mother, Elena, was worried how her children, who have developmental challenges and frequently catch colds, would handle the tough training. But she said that, “When the children began to practice, they got noticeably stronger. We don’t remember what colds are. The twins are more focused, they are doing better in school and have learned how to plan their free time better. Life is a lot more exciting! They’ve got new friends in other cities. Sledge hockey isn’t just a sport — it’s spending time with other children, traveling, and holidays.”

Sledge hockey has helped Vlad and Veronika to believe in themselves. They are no longer frightened, unsure of themselves or shy. They’ve learned how to be team players, how to be real friends and feel like equals with their peers.

 

At first glance, Maya looks like any other child in her class. She is a cheerful and very active 8 year old girl who loves to run around during recess.  However, at school 2100, everyone knows that Maya is not a regular kid. She is not supposed to fall or injure herself because she has a device on her head -- the Ommaya reservoir -- for medicine, which treats cancer.

Until she was three, she was no different from her peers. Everything changed when they discovered she had brain cancer.  In order to treat cancer, Maya had to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and rehabilitation.  All of this had an impact on Maya’s development and health and soon she suffered from a stroke. Maya had to learn to speak, eat and walk again. 

Maya was exempt from going to her physical education (PE) classes. However, when her mom learned about Perspektiva’s project Children in Motion, Together is Better, financed by Nike, she was so excited and signed up her daughter. She was certain Maya would love it. The homeroom and PE teachers were supportive of Maya’s mom decision, and soon Maya started to attend the sports classes.  The result was amazing.  Maya began playing sports with her friends and soon asked for permission to attend her PE classes.  The other kids in the class accept and respect Maya and when she needs more time to complete a task, they try to help her.

Maya’s story is one of two major successes for disabled kids at school 2100 since they launched the Children in Motion, Together is Better Project in 2017.  We are certain that Maya, with support from our Project, her teachers and peers, will be able to enjoy living just like any other girl and with greater confidence, prepare herself for a successful life.  

 

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Organization Information

Regional Society of Disabled People Perspektiva

Location: Moscow - Russia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Perspektiva
Project Leader:
droza08 Roza
Moscow, Russia
$18,496 raised of $65,000 goal
 
156 donations
$46,504 to go
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