Astana Hub presented the first online information platform for parents of children with special needs "Ozim Platform"
In the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic, parents of children with special needs and specialized professionals have faced difficulties in organizing educational and rehabilitation procedures for children. The optimal solution was the creation of a mobile application in the form of an information platform for parents of children with special needs, which includes not only theoretical materials, but also practical exercises with a child at home in Kazakh and Russian.
The developers of the application - graduates of the Graduate School of Education of Nazarbayev University, Asem Tazhiyeva, Maria Ippolitova and Dana Mambetalina demonstrated the possibilities of the application and told what led to the idea of its creation. On November 8, 2021, the official presentation of the Ozim Platform mobile application took place at the Astana Hub.
“As a mother of a child in need of early intervention, I also experienced the impossibility of rehabilitation during a pandemic,” said Asem Tazhiyeva, the founder of the project. This experience served as a motivation for teaching and informing parents online.
Being at the idea stage, in 2020 the project made it to the final of the SDF Grants program, and the team became one of 9 grant holders from the Nazarbayev University Social Development Fund. The Ozim Platform project team conducted a study on the information needs of parents, which revealed that parents are in dire need of articles from specialized specialists with important information about diagnoses, video materials for practical work with a child at home, in a single database of various rehabilitation organizations, recommendations and consultations from psychologists and lawyers. Further, with the support of the Nazarbayev University Social Development Fund, the Ozim Platform mobile application based on Android and IOS was developed.
Early intervention specialists spoke at the presentation of the project: rehabilitation doctor Latif Parpiev, winner of the competition 100 new faces of Kazakhstan 2021, as well as Victoria Yustina, defectologist. Videos with their lessons and master classes are already available on the platform. Medical workers noted the importance of the involvement of specialists in such projects: “First of all, the platform was created so that we could share experience for the benefit of children and help remotely. Unfortunately, we cannot reach all children live, but with the help of new technologies, we can provide an opportunity to receive knowledge and support. Today there are remote regions of Kazakhstan, where it is really difficult to communicate and with specialists. The platform helps parents become familiar with the impairments and start working on their children's specific skills on their own until they can get professional advice."
The Ozim Platform team undergoes the Techpreneurs acceleration program from Astana Hub and receives the necessary support from the best specialists in the field of IT startups. Team tracker, Russian expert of the Forbes for Business project, strategic marketer Aleksey Dobrusin: “I see that the project is very promising. The team and the project have a great future, and most importantly, this project will provide a great future for almost all children with special needs in the country.”
Digital inclusion expert Ziyat Abdykaimov audited the accessibility of the application for blind and visually impaired people. Already at the development stage, the team consulted with Ziyat to ensure the accessibility of the technology and corrected technical imperfections that limited access for this group of people. “ It seems to me that accessibility is not about money and resources, but rather about the values and maturity of the organization and the company. My message is that it is high time for us to discuss, create and consider accessibility not only in architecture but also in the digital world,” Ziyat said.
The presentation was attended by parents of children with special needs. “A very important and necessary tool of assistance has been created, available to everyone. Remembering myself, I know how important it is to structure everything at the beginning, in addition to anxieties, experiences, there is also the fear of not knowing, and it greatly leads astray. Applications such as Ozim Platform become a guide, an assistant where you can not only find the information you need, but also find like-minded people and get feedback. And the more people with special needs see the care of other people, the more chances to build a very accepting, understanding and tolerant society,” they noted.
“The Ozim Platform team engaged parents by building a product for parents. The application was based on the feedback from parents, that is, it was primarily focused on the needs of the target audience,” said Raushan Ibrasheva, coordinator for innovation at UNICEF (Kazakhstan).
The presentation was attended by a representative of the Aruzhan Sain Foundation “Voluntary Society “Mercy” Ruslan Sarmurzakov. He noted that "to help children find a better life, to help parents react, to take advantage of all the lessons, to find specialists who can help - this is a very important and noble mission."
Rita Kasha, an expert in the field of inclusion, is also involved in the Ozim platform project, Assistant Professor of the Graduate School of Education of Nazarbayev University. “One of the blocks in the application is devoted to scientific research, where the articles are summarized in Russian and Kazakh languages. It's great that you rely on and provide scientific information,” said the professor.
The social project Ozim Platform is of particular importance for expanding access to knowledge about early intervention, as well as developing inclusion in Kazakhstani society. The creators note that the application will be supplemented with materials, specialists in early intervention and representatives of foundations working with children with special needs have already been involved in the work. The project also invites all interested parties to cooperate.
Startup Ozim Platform - participants of the Techpreneurs acceleration program from Astana Hub. Recall that Techpreneurs is a program that provides continuous support for start-up projects of all stages, with the ability to choose services within the program separately from each other. Startup projects have access to tracking, educational workshops, individual consultations and other Astana hub services. The program is absolutely free for both residents and participants from other countries of the world and is supported by the government of Kazakhstan. In addition, program participants have access to tax incentives, a simplified visa regime and other Astana hub infrastructure.