Community Participation and Employment as Strategies for Social inclusion: A U.S.-Russian Dialogue

Enhances the social inclusion of Russian youth and young adults with disabilities by developing community living and supported employment programs in the Moscow area. Options in Russia for supported community living and employment are very limited, leading many Russian parents to doubt the value of educating children and youth with disabilities, which, in turn, diminishes employment and community participation prospects for young Russians.

Life Route is a subsidiary of Ordinary Childhood, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Russia that is trying to break this cycle. ICI's Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education (GRC) is working with Life Route to develop materials that support youth with disabilities to successfully transition from school to employment and community living. Activities include staff from Life Route visiting Minnesota in fall 2018 to observe employment and community living programs, and GRC staff traveling to Russia to provide technical assistance. Working with NGOs and parents on these transition issues can enhance the quality of life of persons with disabilities and begin to change public attitudes towards this part of the population.

With support from the Eurasia Foundation, this project has produced Handbook on Community Living and Employment, a resource guide co-authored by U.S. and Russian experts that is accompanied by case studies and concrete examples of innovative approaches to community living and competitive supported employment. The handbook is accompanied by learning modules that cover the same topics.