On the banks of Russia’s scenic Vuoksi River, between St. Petersburg and the border with Finland, is a camp for Russian children and adults with autism. Every summer, campers ranging in age from 18 to 40 and a handful of volunteers gather to boat, craft, and cook at the Soviet-era tourist destination.
The camp is an initiative of Anton’s Right Here, a center in St. Petersburg that provides support to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It aims to make socialization easier and help transition campers into a more independent lifestyle after. In Russia, where there are no statistics about the prevalence of autism and limited medical assistance, it’s a rare place of freedom and understanding.