Marianne, Siw and Thomas ran 2 sessions for maximum 30 staff in how to use the Neurodivergent assessment tools we have developed in the project.
The staff paired up and played role playing taking turns as students and teachers when testing the assessment tools.
Project meeting in Brussels
Most of the core team met 2 days in Brussels, hosted by Autism Europe, for quality assurance and development planning of the two last intellectual outputs.
Jesus Marin college believes there is a need to diversify teaching methods in VET and to adapt the learning environment to suit the needs of autistic students.
Only 20% of autistic students manage to complete their VET qualification successfully in the Jesús Marin VET centre. Felipe gave several reasons for this:
• Lack of reasonable adjustments and necessary curriculum adaptations for autistic students.
• Tests and exams need to be adapted to better reflect the skills of autistic students. Different deadlines and different evaluation methods would also help
• Students are required to take part in an internship as part of the course which is proving to be a problem area.
Private companies tend to show little flexibility and will not consider adapting their working environment to suit
the needs of autistic students. Autistic apprentices struggle to adapt to the specific demands and flow of a working day. Often, only public bodies or state administrations will offer placement suitable for their autistic students.
But private companies too often lack an inclusive culture
From the 11 to the 14th of November 2022, the Neurodivergent Project team and teachers met in Malaga (Spain). The agenda was to share good practise, school visits and discuss progress, consolidate learning and to promote our VET teacher training program through a conference. The aim of the project is to improve the learning experience of autistic students in VET
This great event took place in the ballroom of the Vienna Board of Education on 24th of November 2022. Almost 70 participants attended the event to learn about the results of the project! We were very pleased about the lively interest and the many participants!! Introductory words were spoken by the head of the European Office in Vienna, Mrs. Caroline Jäckl. Participants of the project, Mrs. Haider, Mrs. Schwanda and Mrs. Jencio-Stricker presented the power-point and led through the nice afternoon!
Good read about how it is to be a child with Autism:
Policy discussions in Brussels:
The Neurodivergent managers met in Brussels on the 13th and 14th of December to discuss policy recommendations for the Autistic students in VET education. Most of the policies developped so far has been targeting policy makers and national/international broader target group. In our project we have also focused on policy recommendations targeting regional and local VET school authorities specifically
Autism Europe Link Magazine
Autism Europe’s LINK magazine contains many interesting policy and practical articles regarding Autism
See and download here: https://www.autismeurope.org/blog/category/link-magazine/
Information Autism Website
This summer, the John and Lorna Wing Foundation launched the “Information Autism” website- www.informationautism.org. It provides impartial, scientifically accurate and accessible information on autism and interventions designed to help autistic people. It is aimed at anyone with an interest in autism, including autistic people, families, parents and carers, professionals, researchers, service providers, policy makers and the mainstream media.
The website is accessible here: www.informationautism.org
Autism research about usage of language and identity
The past three decades have seen a major shift in our understanding of the strong links between autism and identity. These developments have called for careful consideration of the language used to describe autism. Here, they briefly discuss some of these deliberations and provide guidance to researchers around language use in autism research.
New project: The project Autism-friendly spaces
Unemployment affects disproportionally autistic people compared to the rest of the population. The AFS Employability project focuses on the need for an integrated program that is going to involve and train a range of relevant stakeholders (notably autistic people, their supporters and services providers). It will also influence on a transnational basis and at the European level policies supporting the employability of autistic people.
The third physical transnational project meeting in Riga, Latvia.
On the 20th of May, the third physical transnational project meeting in Riga, Latvia took place at the Riga 5th Boarding School - Development centre. The main topics that were discussed among the group were course modules and competence development planning in Spain autumn 2022. The meeting were fruitful and full of enthusiasm. The development centre that we visited, were an inspiration to all the international participants.
The Neurodivergent Workforce Opportunity
Click on a link below to access an article:
On November 1 & 2, the partners of Neurodivergent met in Kristianstad, Sweden, for the transnational meeting!
We were very happy to be able to meet in person and discuss the progress of the project. We also had time to brainstorm and develop on different key issues:
After fruitful conversations and exchange of experiences, we worked on the future outcome: the training and its content, which will be highly practical and interactive with all days containing a mix of theoretical background, reflection sessions, short break out groups, tool examples, checklists and other relevant materials that is directly usable for teachers in the classroom.
In order to get the most out of the meeting, the partners were divided into 4 groups and each of them was in charge of providing suggestions for one module of the training.
At the end of the meeting, we also discussed about the dissemination plan of the project and we explored different ways of spreading the word about Neurodivergent.
Next meeting: December 16-17 in Viena, Austria!
Click on a link below to access an article:
On World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), partners of the Neurodivergent project participated in the second stage of Autism-Europe’s awareness raising campaign, “I can learn. I can work”. The campaign aims to inform and raise awareness on access to education and employment for people on the autism spectrum, even during the pandemic and its containment measures.
Neurodivergent partners shared pictures of themselves performing the campaign “holding a tool” gesture as a way of showing the diversity of ability that society can nurture to be more inclusive. In line with the objectives of the Neurodivergent project, the campaign recognizes the importance of providing training on autism to teachers and supporting autistic people in their education whether that be in person, or virtually.
It is estimated that 5 million people are on the autism spectrum in the European Union. Most autistic people experience widespread discrimination in many areas of life including in employment and education. The campaign aims to promote access to inclusive education and employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum through the EU. During the second stage of the campaign in 2021, specific COVID-19 related topics including distance education, reasonable accommodation, mental health and pandemic related challenges are being addressed too.
The release of the European Disability Strategy for 2021-2030 and the Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, as well as the announcement of the Child Guarantee mark the first months of 2021. These developments to support the rights of people with disabilities in the European Union will set the pace for our campaign actions, as access to education and employment for autistic people have a strong presence within these instruments.
Autism-Europe called on people to join the campaign and to help highlight the diversity of ability that society can nurture to be more inclusive. Even though World Autism Awareness Day has passed, you can still support the campaign!
How can I support?
People willing to support the campaign can post pictures of themselves on social media using the hashtag #AutismDay2021. They can either hold a tool that represents one of their skills (it can be linked either with their ability to learn, or their ability to work on a specific field) or hold the campaign visual.
AE has also released a campaign toolkit (and a special annex for 2021) that explains the objectives of the campaign and includes communication materials and strategies, as well as in Easy-To-Read format (also for the 2021 annex).
In late March 2021, AE hosted a webinar on the theme “I can LEARN. I can WORK.” The European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and Members of the European Parliament Katrin Langensiepen and Chiara Gemma provided insight into the rights and needs of people with disabilities across Europe in terms of education and employment. Autistic people and their families, autism organisations, professionals, employers, EU policy-makers and the general population took also part of this collaborative online event.
The webinar is available to watch on demand anytime. Click here for more information on the event.
Neurodivergent project partner Autism-Europe has gathered useful resources and tips from across the world to help autistic people and their families navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
This time of crisis has been and continues to be particularly challenging for autistic people who see a disruption in their routine, and have difficulty facing uncertainty and change, all while their support services are also being impacted. It is essential that autistic people and their families are supported and provided with resources and accessible tools to understand and communicate about the situation and constant changes linked to the COVID-19.
Many people in the autism community are sharing resources and advice to support autistic people at this time. Below are a few resources that may be helpful to those of you in the Neurodivergent community.
Resources to help cope with stress and uncertainty:
Social stories and visual guides:
Other support initiatives, resources and tips from the autism community:
Resources in easy-to-read accessible in various languages:
Inclusion-Europe has listed easy-to-read information available across the EU.
To access all resources put together by Autism-Europe, you can visit their website here.
In September 2020, the first transnational meeting for the Neurodivergent project took place via Zoom. Project partners from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cyprus, Czech Republic and Belgium came together to discuss the project and their responsibilities.
The kick-off meeting was attended by 7 individual partners and aimed to share understanding of the purpose of the project as well as to ensure the project’s viability and success. Partners who attended the meeting were from Godalen Videregående Skole (Norway), BILDUNGSDIREKTION FUER WIEN (The Board of Education for Vienna – Austria), Sotogrande International school (Spain), Riga 5th Primary School – Development Center (Latvia), Autismeforeningen i Norge (Norway), Kristianstad University (Sweden) and Autism-Europe (Belgium).
Different topics were addressed during the meeting including the role of each partner, the projects’ main outputs, dissemination and coordination aspects and the next steps. At this stage, partners are designing the curriculum outline and soon they will begin developing the course materials for educational professionals.
A second transnational meeting will take place in March 2021. The project foresees five transnational meetings and six national events hosted by partner countries over its 2.5 year lifespan.
The Neurodivergent project aims to develop a training programme for educational professionals and staff to enhance their abilities to work successfully with students with Asperger’s and in turn, decrease early school leaving. Running from September 2020 to March 2023, the project is funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme.
Young adults with Asperger’s face barriers while accessing Initial vocational education and training (VET) including university or colleague, due to a lack of appropriate support. The demands on these students in initial VET can result in slower completion rates, school failure and even school dropout. There is a clear need for interventions from teachers and trainers in an educational context.
The Neurodivergent project will provide training to educational professionals on how to approach and support a student with Asperger’s and improve their educational experience. The project aims to minimise the gap in learning outcomes between young adults with Asperger’s and neurotypical students.
In the framework of the project, a training package and toolkit will be developed and delivered to trainers in initial VET. Neurodivergent will also conduct a status report on the inclusion of persons with Asperger’s in VET and work life in Europe, and produce both a user guide to Asperger’s students in VET and Policy Recommendations related to the projects’ findings.
Those involved come from various backgrounds – both national and cultural – and have a wide set of skills. The project coordinator, Godalen Videregående Skole (Norway) works closely with all the other partners: BILDUNGSDIREKTION FUER WIEN (The Board of Education for Vienna – Austria), Sotogrande International school (Spain), Riga 5th Primary School – Development Center (Latvia), Autismeforeningen i Norge (Norway), Kristianstad University (Sweden) and Autism-Europe (Belgium).
About the Erasmus+ Programme
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.
People with ASD have highest unemployment rates
A new report released today by the Office for National Statistics shows that autistic people are the least likely to be in work of any other disabled group. Just 21.7% of autistic people are in employment.
The project Facebook site is now active
Neurodivergent project is now on Twitter
The Neurodivergent project had a joint project meeting through Teams on the 26th. of February.
We focused on finalising the didactic guidelines and discussing the course development.
We are on course and are looking forward to meeting in person.
We will be applying for a 6 month extension to ensure the piloting and course can be undertaken successfully.
Contract number : 2020-1-NO01-KA202-076463
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