Weekend with the "Good Jam for Good People"

On January, 16, the Office for a Democratic Belarus (Brussels) in partnership with the "Good Jam for Good People" project held a creative workshop for children with autism in Minsk. The goal of the event was to support a parents' initiative to improve teaching methods for autistic kids and draw attention to the prospects for new educational and healthcare projects in Belarus.
During the creative workshop, which was attended by children with autism and ordinary students, artist Sofia Sadovskaya guided the children to make souvenir flowery appliques from watercolours, gouache, glue and coloured paper. In the second part of the workshop children created pretend culinary dishes and treats from modeling clay and small ornaments.
Olga Stuzhinskaya, Director of the Office for a Democratic Belarus
The Good Jam for Good People project was started only a few months ago.  The concept, as its author Tatsiana  Golubovich explains, is very simple: parents make fruit jam and give it as a present to anyone who is willing to contribute towards a class for children with autism which functions in a regular general education school in Minsk.
Tatsiana Golubovich (on the right), author of the Good Jam for Good People project


Such classes are officially dubbed integrative as this the form of teaching used. Together with ordinary students, the school also teaches children with autism accompanied by tutors, psychologists and parents.

Sofia Sadovskaya, artist 

First such class was created in Minsk last year in the secondary general education school No.5. In the current academic year Minsk already has 5 such classes. The primary goal the parents initially pursued was to organize and “adapt” learning environment to the needs of autistic children.

Tatsiana Golubovich says that it had been very challenging for students with autism to stay in school for long periods of time before these special classes were organized:

"Every autistic child has severe sensory problems: they cannot stay in a large group of children for a long time, they move around a lot and they need to be constantly accompanied by a tutor. To them, the tutor is both an interpreter and their link to their surroundings who allows them to understand what is happening around them”.

Since early development is a determining factor for future social inclusion of people with autism, special methods used in primary school can be very effective.

In addition to special teaching methods, coaching psychologists encourage organizing creative activities for autistic children. The workshops held in Minsk with support ODB was one of such events.

See Photos.

Read more: Inclusive Education: Creative Workshop for Children with Autism