International Citizen Diplomacy

On Friday, April 19th, Carolina Pediatric Therapy was honored to host a group of international professionals from the Open World Delegation on Autism Spectrum Disorders. The group was visiting the United States from Russia, through a program collaboration between Open World Delegation and Friendship Force of Western North Carolina. Their trip was coordinated by Judy and Bob Wilkes who have been involved with Friendship Force for many years. The Wilkes’ are the parents of Traci Higgins, one of our awesome Speech-Language Pathologist here at Carolina Pediatric Therapy!

The delegates spent the morning with one of our owners and Director, Summer McMurry, who gave them a tour of our newly re-modeled facility, and enjoyed coffee and open discussion on the medical, educational, and social system approaches and issues that surround working with children with Autism in America and in Russia. We learned that while the details of the systems that we all work in have some contrasts due to differences in governmental structure, the challenges facing professionals and families as we navigate the world of Autism with each child are mutual, similar and shared.

All of the delegates are associated with the Charitable Foundation Way Out’s implementation of "Autism is Curable" program located in Voronezh, Russia, which is southwest of Moscow.

"Sail of Hope" Rehabilitation Center for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs, is where the Charitable Foundation VYKHOD (‘Way Out’) is implementing "Autism is Curable" program, which is designed to become the first multidimensional solution (scientific, medical and social) for dealing with autism, starting with Voronezh and then, hopefully, spreading throughout the country. "We are in great need of highly-qualified and open-minded professionals with a wide range of skills and international knowledge."

The delegates included Yuliya Suslova,Project Coordinator/Press Secretary for the Charitable Organization "Way Out", Margarita Abrosimova, Neurologist; Marina Nizovaya, Sensory Integration Specialists; Roman Stepanov, Psychiatrist; Nina Voytsekhovskaya, Speech Language Pathologist; and Anastasia Gorinenko, Social Worker/Child Counselor.

They had a very busy week in WNC as they visited many of the resources for children with Autism in our area. While they were here, they met with the NC Autism Society, TEAACH, Talisman Academy, St. Gerard’s House, Irene Wortham Child Development, Olsen Huff Center, Children’s Developmental Services Agency, Buncombe and Henderson County Schools, and ended their trip Friday morning at Carolina Pediatric Therapy.

We were so happy to have had the opportunity to exchange experiences, knowledge and ideas with our professional counterparts from Russia, and look forward to hearing of their success stories and of the difference they are making for children with Autism in Russia!

Related Stories: Russian delegation tours Henderson County

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