Общественное объединение матерей детей с ограниченными возможностями

About us

The association of mothers of children with special needs “The Step” was officially registered on October the 8th 2013 with the primary goal of helping people with special needs and their families (the government registration code 22662-1917-OO).

What we do

There are four key directions of what we do:

Correction work with children with special needs;

We focus on the work with the group of children who are unable for some reason to attend any government or non-government correction institution. At the moment our centre is attended by around 25 children with different diagnosis, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, speech retardation and Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder. For our kids we have the following services provided:

  • Free daily psychologist consultations with Oksana Gordeyeva
  • Free occupational therapy with Gulnara Simonenko

Free occupational therapy with Gulnara Simonenko

  • Free music therapy with Inkara Karimbaeva
  • We are also planning to create access to free art therapy and free dog-assisted therapy

Social and psychological support of children with special needs;

  • Holidays celebration (New Year, Day of People with Special Needs, Birthdays and Kids Day)

Holidays celebration

New Year 2014

  • Going to the countryside
  • Participating in the community life (doing sports, going to theatre performances and circus)

Social and psychological support of parents of children with special needs;

  • Weekly group psychotherapy with Angelica Mersiyanova
  • Individual counselling with psychologist from the psychological centre “Bliss”
  • Free yoga classes with Inna Davydova

Free yoga classes with Inna Davydova

  • Social activity trainings with Ludmila Levitanus

Social activity trainings with Ludmila Levitanus

  • Crafting with Alla Kaun
  • Openning the inner woman with Evdokiya Vologotskaya

Informing the population

Articles in local media (in Russian):



In the newspaper: "Мой Город" №41(343) от 10.10.2013 г.

Photo exhibition “The First Step”. You can also see the exhibition following this link:


Mission of “The Step”:

To create conditions for the integral development and possession of equal rights in the society by people with special needs and giving a complex support to their families.


Goals and purposes of “The Step”:

  • Providing social and psychological support to the people with special needs and their families;
  • Creation of the centre, which will provide correction services and differential therapy to the children and adults with special needs;
  • Educating parents and guardians of children with special needs to the basics of working with their children;
  • Creation of the environment for the development of children with special needs, with the possibility of doing sports, visiting cultural events and participation in the life of the society;
  • Socialisation of children with special needs - creation of conditions to communicate between each other and other members of society;
  • Preparing children to the school education;
  • Informing the population about problems and life features of people with special needs, developing the tolerant attitude in the society to such people;
  • Preparing the society to incisive education;
  • Creating conditions for integral life of people with disabilities in the region (e.g. wheelchair access to the public transport, special equipment in the public places);
  • Using of international experience and competences, attraction of international experts;
  • Assisting in development of diagnostic and correction work provided by the governmental organisations;
  • Growing into the regional and national level, creation of the possibility to assist to people with special needs and their families that live in villages.



  • Education of mothers of children with special needs to the method of ABA therapy

Education of mothers of children with special needs to the method of ABA therapy

Intensive behavioural programme of ABA is one of the most effective methods for the correction of Autism. ABA therapy is always individual, the programme is created for each child and allows to develop necessary skills in different dimensions-cognitions, speech, social and private.

With the help of ABA, a child with autism can learn to communicate with the surrounding world, become more self-sustainable and “include” to the society. Also, ABA allows to considerably decrease (and frequently completely eradicate) characteristic behavioural problems without any pharmaceutical interventions. Moreover, following the ABA methodology social and behavioural dysfunctions can be corrected in children with different conditions (such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, in children with emotional and developmental disorders and other conditions.

Practice of ABA has to confirm to the professional requirements and standards. The therapist applies behavioural methods of education, functional analysis and data collection and analysis. Recently the course of ABA therapy was opened in Russia, in addition the online course was created by Julia Ertz. Those courses were created for both psychologists, other therapists and parents who are interested. Courses include lectures, online discussions and also written tests and exams.

The online course consists of four modules: 1. Fundamental concepts, methods and principals of behavioural analysis; 2. Using of educational procedures and ABA principles for education of new skills; 3. Evaluation of functions of behaviour, methods of measurement and correction of behaviours. and 4. Application of behavioural analysis in therapeutic and educational spheres. The volume of the given programme is 180 hours and is accordant with new standards of professional education and preparation to the BCаBA® certificate examination.

At the present moment there is no ABA qualified specialist in Eastern Kazakhstan. With this respect, mothers of children with special needs from “The Step” showed desire to learn to be therapists themselves to work with their own and other children.

  • Dog-Assisted Therapy

Dog-Assisted Therapy

What is dog-assisted therapy?

It is a kind of therapy and rehabilitation of people with the assistance of especially selected and prepared dogs in coordination of qualified specialist.

Dog-assisted therapy is frequently used as psychotherapeutic technique which encourage cognitive and emotional skills, which also advantage movement functions and motor skills. In addition, the method can be used for increasing the effectiveness of personality development during the correction work, rehabilitation and social adaptation of children with special needs.

Dog assisted therapy for people with special needs

Research shows that dog-assisted therapy has the following influences on children with special needs:

  1. Normalisation of the child’s condition - beneficial influence of dog during crisis condition (relaxing and calming influence of interaction with the animal).
  2. Assistance at the process of socialisation-spending time with the dog also helps in interpersonal relationships.
  3. It has an influence on motivation. Communication with the dog is an important motivational trigger for a child for taking walks, social communication and interaction with other people as well as education.
  4. Calming and mobilisation of attention. Animals are able to capture child’s attention, focusing it outside. This decreases child’s excitement and aggression (which is especially important in the case of children with Autism and Down syndrome).
  5. Ecouragment of speech and vocalisation development. Vocalisation can be a reaction to the sounds made by the dogs or speech can be used to talk and command to the animal.
  6. Increase of level of movement and activeness. Interaction with the dog encourages the child to use active movements, development of muscles and posture (especially beneficial for children with cerebral palsy).
  7. Development of speech skills. Children who have problems with communication have the possibility to learn to communicate with the dog, where they need to be soft and sensitive, which consequently they can use in the relationships with people.
  8. Dog-assisted therapy allows the therapist to develop the contact with the child. Children frequently have difficulties to express and communicate their feeling and emotions, but when they are asked to talk to their friend (dog), it becomes easier for them.

One of the most important value of “The Step” is to assist to those who need help and to offer effective and integral assistance to the children with special needs.

We have already bought a puppy of Golden Retriever for doing a free therapy with children from “The Step” (this type of dog is most frequently used for dog-assisted therapy).

Our volunteer- psychologist and animal-assisted therapist Oksana Gordeeva has agreed to keep and prepare the dog.

  • “One Dimension”, the project in cooperation with the psychological centre “Bliss”

The information campaign “Increasing the possibilities” has started in Ust-Kamenogorsk. On the national level this project is coordinated by the “Association of development of civil society” in cooperation with three partner organisations with the financial support of USAID, which will have a number of events aiming at informing population on the topic of life of people with special needs.

The aim of information campaign - to form the public opinion that people with disabilities can and want to be involved in the life of society. Today there are about 609,000 of people with disabilities, many of them are actively involved in working, sports and entrepreneurship. However, full engagement of people with disabilities in the life of society is still largely dependent on the government programmes, civil society and attitudes of the population to the people with special needs.

The problem of people with special needs had two key directions: first is related to their actual disabilities and the second is related to the environment. Both physical and social environment have to be adopted for people with special needs. However, even provision of such environment will not solve all problems. The most important task is to change the attitude and stable social connections. This campaign is aiming to increase the quality of life and to create resourceful environment for people with special needs.


Our team:

Our team

Anna Ipatova - director of “The Step”

A little bit about myself:

My name is Anna Ipatova. I am 26 years old, I am qualified as an interpreter, I have finished East Kazakhstan State University in 2008. After, I have studied in Kazakh American Free University where I have received a management diploma in 2009. I am married and I have three children. I’ve met my husband on the first year of the university and since then we haven’t parted. I have many friends and in my free time I love to meet with them. Most of all I love reading books and watching movies, my favourite author is Boris Akunin. I love attending various trainings and meeting new people. I am trying to spend more time with my husband and children, go to visit our friends and go to the countryside together.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

My older sun Ratmir has turned 6. Four years ago he was diagnosed with Autism. Before I have never heard of this diagnosis and I barely knew anything about people with special needs. For the fist time I saw kids with similar diagnosis as my sons on the equine therapy sessions, there I have also met parents which face similar problems as our family. That was when I have realised how many of children with special needs there are. With support of the centre of help, development and protection of young adults “Olymp” the parents club “Kausar-Rodnichok” was organised, where we were able to meet closer with other parents. We were celebrating New Year together, went to the countryside and went to the circus, but soon we have realised that it is not enough. The centres for our children are opening, then exist some time and then close. We have realised that we are the ones who are interested the most in the happiness, education and development of our kids. We have realised that we are the team already and that we are able to change some things, that we want to be active and influence the situation, we want to learn and work on ourselves. That was when I’ve met Mariya, who helped to realise my dream and open the centre. What was just a dream before, now became reality thank to her.

My Dream:

I dream that our children have possibilities, became full-fledged part of society and found their place in the world! That one day we wouldn’t need a “centre” or association for that. I dream that my child was able to go to normal school and that we wouldn’t need a separate law to allow that or to have some permission to receive what is natural. I dream that in the shop to hospital or on the children's playground there was an attitude to my child as to any other kid, not like to an alien. I am also dreaming that my child will be able to live self-sustainably when I will no longer be able to take care of him.

Mariya Levitanus – Executive director

A little bit about myself:

Я родилась и выросла в Усть-I was born and grew up in Ust-Kamenogorsk, but when I was 17 I left my hometown to continue my education. Now I am 24 and I am a psychologist. I love people, love to create and I believe that world is a beautiful place, where noting is happening without a reason. I have a few hobbies: photography, painting and I also write a little. My family and my close people are my blessing, they support me and forgive all my crazy ideas. I have lived in many places: Czech Republic, Israel and United Kingdom. In every place I was volunteering.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

I graduated from the University of St Andrews in July 2013 and came home afterwards. I have had a few months before I was due to start my Masters. While a was at home, I wanted to do something useful. I came up with an idea to make a photo exhibition about children with special needs. I wanted to show that despite their disabilities, they are still children, I wanted to tell their personal stories and to remind the population of Ust-Kamenogorsk about very important members of our society - people with special needs. While I was taking pictures, communicating with children’s parents, I have realised, how much work needs to be done in Eastern Kazakhstan. In August I could not leave my hometown. At that time me, Anna and the team of mothers of children with special needs have decided to join our efforts. That was how “The Step” appeared on my life path.

My dream:

My dream is to have more love and light in this world and inside myself and others. I dream that people would love to live, appreciate and enjoy every moment.

Elena Simakova - Accountant

A little bit about myself:

I have a daughter - Zalina, she is 6 years old. My mother also helps us. We live all together and we also have three pets: cat Dasha, parrot Vania and a fish. I work as an accountant and I will help our organisation to do accounting. I spend my free time with my daughter. We walk and learn together. I love to listen to music, to do some gardening (now I am experimenting with Roses). I love visiting people and to spend time with my friends, walk in the city.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

My child has brought me to “The Step”, the desire to help her, to help to myself and to other families with similar problems. I believe that in this organisation we can give something, that is not present in any other institution in this town. Perhaps, gradually we will adopt and create methodology to work with kids with autism. I hope that this will help us to bring joy and smiles to our homes.

My dream:

My dream - to have a complete family, which will always be with me, that we will support each other in the most difficult moments.

Anna Isaeva

A little bit about myself:

My name is Anna, I am 24 years old, my husband’s name is Samat. We have two daughters, my older daughter is Anastasia, she is 9 years old. My younger daughter Diana is 5 years old.

In 2007 I finished college Nurgalieva and I found a job, from 2007-2010 I studied in East Kazakhstan State University, studying economics. In 2013 I quit my job and focused on my children After two years treatment of Diana she was given the diagnosis of Autism.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

The desire to teach Diana how to speak has brought me to “The Step”. I also want to teach her to contact and interact with other people and to teach her to be more self-sustainable. I wanted to learn from experiences and wisdom of other parents. I want to learn and understand the reason behind Autism. I also want to find friends and learn to be calmer and more accepting during difficult life situations.

My dream:

My dream is that Diana can communicate with people, was able to live self-sustainably and found herself someone who was able to love and accept her just as she is.

Kuralay Nurgalieva

A little bit about myself:

My name is Kuralay. I am a mother of two children. The older is 5 years old, the younger soon will be 4. We live in Ust-Kamenogorsk, At this moment I do not work, my main occupation is my children. I am qualified as a math teacher. I love reading psychology books, listen to music. I also love crafting, embroidery and knitting.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

Two years ago my child was diagnosed with autism and me and my husband as other parents, didn’t know what to do. The situation was complicated by the fact that there are hardly any specialists in the area to deal with this problem. If there are some groups for kids with developmental retardation, groups for kids with speech retardation, there is nothing for children with autism. Even if the child is lucky enough to get into the kindergarden, they normally do not stay there for a long time due to their behavioural difficulties. Now it is even hard for children with autism and their parents to find support from specialists. In our society people with some differences are normally alienated, other people are afraid of any differences.

We try to go to other cities in Kazakhstan. Everywhere we are advised that the most important thing is constant intervention and if possible working in groups. That is why inside, I always hoped that one day there will be a centre in our town that will be able to accommodate all the kids who require help.

“The Step” is the centre that is organised by mothers of special children. It is easier for us to live when we know that we are not alone and where we have a possibility to share the unique experiences that we all have.

My dream:

We can’t have one dream throughout our life-life is ever-changing and puts us to different conditions.

Every day and every hour we are given something new and a different road is prepared for every person. Of course now I really want to help my son and to other children with similar diagnosis. My dream- that in the centre we would have a school, a different school which will be focused on the children with special needs to educate them in a special way.

I want to thank everyone who helps to “rain children”, because those kids “come to our lives to bring us back to humanity” (Schneider).

P.S. To help to a child with autism is “spreading to many years, during which effects of days, weeks and months may seem painfully small or even non-existent. But every-even the smallest-step of progress is precious: from those, at first clumsy steps the path of improvement of life is formed. Of course this path will not be great for every child. But what the child has acquired on this road will stay with him and assist him to live the life more independently and confidently (V.E. Kagan).

Maral Musebaeva

A little bit about myself:

I am 29 years old. I work in the department of statistics. I have a degree in pedagogy of English and German languages. I love listening to classical music and reading fiction. I can’t stand lie, and I am very demanding to myself and to the people surrounding me.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

My dream. I want to help to children with special needs and to my son.

My dream:

My dream: - that my son will not be lost and will be able to find his place in the society. That our children with special needs made The Step to their dreams and have accomplished everything they want.

Zhanna Soltanbekova

A little bit about myself:

My name is Zhanna, I am 33 years old. I have a son whose name is Alikhan, he is 5 years old and he is diagnosed with autism.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

I came to “The Step” primarily to meet parents of children with similar issues as our family has. I wanted to find support and understanding. I hope that together we can make lives of our kids better and create conditions for adaptation of our kids in the society. I hope we will be able to find qualified specialists and will build the environment will allow our children’s education and development.

My dream:

I dream that my Alikhan as well as other children has became closer to other kids, that they will socialise and find understanding from other members of the society.

Zhanara Idisinova

A little bit about myself:

I am 40 years old. At the moment I don’t work. Before the birth of my daughter I worked in the “centre of mother and child” as an obstetrician-gynecologist. I have two higher education qualifications: in law and medicine. There are four people in my family: my husband (he also a doctor), my son (he is 9 years old) and my daughter (she is 5). At the moment my main occupation is my children. Especially I am taking care of my little daughter. I take her to the speech therapist, to equine therapist, to the swimming. Her name is Dilyara, she is attending the kindergarden number 61. My daughter does speak with phrases. She was diagnosed with mental retardation, generic encephalopathy, motor alalia..at the moment diagnosis is specified by the specialists. We are considering applying for the disability benefits. After her diagnosis will be specified and we will decide what will be the best option for her education, I am planning to go back to work.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

I found out about “The Step” from one of my friends. I was curious and shortly I came to the meeting of the members of “The Step”. Of course at first I was a little embarrassed, but I think that participation in the actions of this organisation first of all means to support myself morally and consequently means to support my child.

Any possibility to help to my daughter is like a gulp of fresh, pure air in our “polluted environment”. It is also a possibility to know real people, who are alike me, about their problems, stories that are similar to mine and about ways that people deal with their difficulties. Moreover, it is a possibility to communicate with beautiful people- professionals, as Anzhelika Mersiyanova, for example, who I wanted to meet for a long time; or as Oksana Gordeyeve our psychologist.

My dream:

I think that every mother is dreaming that her children were healthy and happy.

My cherished dream is that my most beautiful, my sweetest, my lovely girl, my swallow, my daughter.. that she will speak! I think about it 24 hours a day, even in my dreams.

I also wish that all mothers feel the happiness and joy when they realise that their children are able to socialise and that the kids are healthy, or at least that their kids are helped and understood by the surrounding people, by us!

And of course, I wish peace on Earth!

Tatyana Suhanova

A little bit about myself:

I work as a confectioner, I love ice skating and roller skating. My whole family loves to go mushrooming. I love cooking.

What has brought me to “The Step”:

Hope for the better future for my son.

My dream:

Take Danil to he Dolphinarium, that Danil would be well. I would love to visit Israel.

Gulnara Simonenko

Meyramgul Zhaparova

Mariam Chalyspaeva

Nargilya Nasibova

Inga Semenova

Oksana Belyava

Liazat Sagymbaeva


Our partners

•Public association “Psychological centre “Bliss”

•Public association “Association of volunteers supported by UN under East Kazakhstan Regional University”.


"The Step" says "Thank you"!

  • Ust-Kamenogorsk Russian Orthodox Diocese - at the moment we are located in the Sunday School building;
  • Group of services “Bipek Avto” for proving us fully equipped space for our centre, also for their continuous strategic and legal advise support;
  • IT company “Rating” for constant support, space that they provide for our meetings and trainings, for making trainings and couching sessions for parents of children with special needs, for financial help, for creating the website and help in organising events for our children;
  • Fitness centre “Astana Fitness”, and especially we would like to thank Inna Davydova, who teaches Yoga to mothers of children with special needs for free.
  • Department of Youth Affairs of Ust-Kamenogorsk for continuous support in organising holidays and events for children from “The Step”;
  • Horse-sport complex “Titan” for provision of equine therapy for our children;
  • To teachers of the psychology department of East-Kazakhstan State University for consulting and educating parents from the association, also for providing volunteers for our centre;
  • Special Olympics (Kazkahstan) for organising sport events 
  • Joint-stock company “NPO “LIK” for financing the purchase of the dog for dog-assisted therapy children from “The Step”

We would also like to thank entrepreneurs of Ust-Kamenogorsk, who donated and sponsored events, trainings and supported the centre of the association of mothers of children with special needs “The Step”:

  • LLP “Group of companies “Vita”;
  • LLP “Pizza Blues” 
  • Restaurant “Turandot” in Ust-Kamenogorsk
  • LLP “Rayal Leasing”
  • LLP “Techcentre”
  • LLP “1C-Rating”
  • LLP “Vostok-On-Line”
  • Sole trader “Yakovlevy”
  • Affiliated branch of joint-stock company “Alfa Bank” Ust-Kamenogorsk
  • LLP “Kazakmus Servises Limited”;
  • Language centre “Best”
  • Beauty shop “Kirov Spa”
  • Beauty shop “Desire”
  • “College of art named after Abdulyn Brothers”
  • LLP “Ulba Complex”
  • LLP computer centre “Wint”
  • “Mary Kay” Ust-Kamengorsk
  • “TAC” shop