Last week, eight visitors from Russia came to San Antonio to learn more about “Inclusive Education in the United States”. The meetings were specifically organized on the topic of national and local government and non-government programs, policies and initiatives in support of special needs students and how they are funded.
Our guests started their day exploring a unique place - Morgan’s Wonderland. The one-of-a-kind theme park allowed the visitors to see some totally original ideas for providing fun for special needs children. The park has grown tremendously in recent years and boasts 25 acres of rides designed to serve special needs children. They also have on-site therapeutic and educational facilities to complement their recreational work. The Russian IVLP visitors were very inspired by the one-of-a-kind place.
After lunch, our guests enjoyed their time with the representatives of Eva’s Heroes discussing their important work enriching the lives of those youth with intellectual disabilities. Many participants shared about this valuable time for them as they saw a great example of different possible programs and events that could be done to raise awareness of the public.
They also met with the Arc of San Antonio to discuss their broad continuum of services for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual developmental disabilities. They were joined by representatives from Autism Lifeline Links to discuss how they work together to provide services for individuals and families. Participants shared about issues of education that disabled children and teens face in their home country, the ways that this special group could be included in the society, and the psychological struggles that parents have going through with these hardships. The Russian delegation was amazed to see how much information and supportive material was provided for disabled people and their family at every stage of their lives.
Everyone agreed on the fact that it takes a proactive parent and supportive society to navigate these overwhelming issues. The discussion was quite open and honest allowing participants to examine many commonalities and share different approaches to address them. Both Russian and American participants saw the value of such discussions, as it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, together, people can reach a great results.