Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT

Teaching reading and writing to adults with intellectual disabilities in institutions

In 2017 the Psychoanalytic Association, an NGO based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, launched the Ed-Recovery Academy (ERA) – a programme designed to teach reading and writing skills to young adults with intellectual disabilities who are living in psychiatric institutions. The ultimate goal of ERA is to move people out of closed institutions, and as of 2019 some 100 people had completed the programme’s training.

“I was able to write but not to read. But my mentor was able to show me the way how to read. I don’t know how she did it, but I’m glad that I can read now!”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Ed-Recovery Academy
Organisation:Psychoanalytic Association
of Implementation
Kazakhstan/ Almaty
Start Year2017


  • Between 2017 and 2019, the programme trained 100 people with intellectual disabilities.
  • The programme aims to move 100 people with intellectual disabilities out of closed psychiatric institutions by 2021.


In Kazakhstan, people with intellectual disabilities over the age of 18 often lack access to educational opportunities and are usually locked away in psychiatric institutions.


Ed-Recovery Academy started in 2017 with 20 people with intellectual disabilities taking part in a one-year pilot programme, and their input served for the design of the curriculum. ERA focuses on people with intellectual disabilities with no literacy skills and teaches them reading, grammar, and math. The teaching is done through an easy-to-read methodology and by incorporating life skills into the curriculum. Each student receives two hours of individual lessons twice a week and two hours of group work, plus regular homework.

The Ed-Recovery Academy cooperates with another concept, called Training Café, whereby advanced students find work and continue with vocational training, such as cooking skills. As of 2018, 70 persons with intellectual disabilities have been trained.

The study group poses for a photo, while some are sitting or standing in a park.

A study group learning about nature.


The Psychoanalytic Association runs both programs, the Ed-Recovery Academy and the Training Cafe, which provides supportive employment for people with intellectual disabilities. Funding for the education programme comes partly from sales generated by the Training Café, and the cost of the teaching staff cost is covered by the association.

Currently, the ERA programme runs only in Almaty, but it could be readily replicated in other Russian-speaking communities. The association is working on a collaboration to incorporate the programme in other boarding houses in Almaty. Looking further ahead, ERA aims to implement the programme nationally in psychiatric institutions, boarding houses, and especially places where people with intellectual disabilities do not have access to any education.



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