Improving quality of life for people with autism


Autism-Europe aisbl is an international association whose main objective is to advance the rights of people with autism and their families and to help them improve their quality of life.
Autism-Europe plays a key role in raising public awareness, and in influencing European decision-makers on all issues related to the rights of people with autism. 


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Valentine’s Day true meaning - promoting the equal right to love

Unfortunately, not all adults are allowed to make their own decisions when it comes to romantic relationships, marriage and reproductive rights. People with learning disabilities continue to face discrimination in Europe and around the world, in terms of freedom of choice and access to information.

Press Release

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Autism-Europe events promote access to employment for people with autism

In 2014, the European Days of Autism focused on access to vocational training and employment. In the framework of the Italian Presidency of the European Union, Autism-Europe organised a conference in Turin to explore good practices from across Europe and discuss the way forward for the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in the field of education and employment, with special focus given to Article 24 on Inclusive Education and Article 27 on the Right to Employment.



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Open Book tool to make text more accessible for people with autism now available

After three years in development, the Open Book tool, which aims to make text more accessible for people with autism, is now available in English, Spanish and Bulgarian.

Check out the video to see how it works:

Open Book has been developed by the FIRST project, a research project involving universities, companies and NGOs (including Autism-Europe).

Use Open Book

Check out the video in Spanish or Bulgarian.

Immediate action required to prevent abuse of people with autism in Greece

Nov 21, 2014: Following media exposure of inhumane living conditions in the Lechaina care centre in Greece, Autism-Europe urges the Greek government to safeguard the human rights of people with autism and other disabilities.

Press release

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Dear European leaders, Please note: Autism is not an insult. It's a disability.

Oct 10, 2014: Following Commissioner Almunia's remarks insulting people with autism this week, Autism-Europe is calling on all European leaders not to denigrate people with disabilities.

Press release


World Contraception Day 2014: Making sex education accessible to all Europeans

It is essential for all young people and adults, including people with learning disabilities, to make informed decisions regarding their sexual life and reproductive health. To promote accesible sex education for people with autism, Autism-Europe is taking part in the SEAD project.

More Information

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Training project to support the inclusion of people with autism in the open labour market in Europe

The JoTraDi project (Job Trainers for people with intellectual Disabilities and autism spectrum disorders) is a collaborative initiative for social inclusion in the open labour market in Europe.
The project will develop ‘Job trainers’; teachers and other relevant professionals who will be able to assist people with autism to gain employment in the open labour market.
The project will also include a job placement programme to enable people with disabilities to gain work experience.
Autism-Europe is a partner in this project, among other European organisations. 
The JoTraDi project has received funding from the European Commission, under the Lifelong Learning Programme. 
More information, contact rossellabrindani(at)

Autism-Europe Vice President presents workshops on UNCRPD implementation in Morocco

Autism-Europe’s Vice President, Evelyne Friedel, held two training workshops on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in Rabat, Morocco, in May.
The first training workshop was held under the aegis of the CNDH (Conseil National des Droits de l’Homme – National Council for Human Rights) with members of the CNDH coming from regions across Morocco. The second training workshop was held under the aegis of the Law University of Rabat with professors, students and representatives of the associations for the defence of people with autism.
Ms. Friedel presented the principles of the Convention, focusing on the articles concerning the right of people with autism to education, health and participation in political and public life. She also presented the various types of procedures and controls set forth by the Convention and its protocol for the full implementation of the Convention.
These workshops were held as part of a national campaign to raise awareness of autism in Morocco, titled “Je suis différent comme toi” (“I am different like you”). They were organised by the network ‘Collectif Autisme Maroc’ in partnership with the National Council for Human Rights.


More information (French only)
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Autism-Europe participates in a conference on accessibility of higher education for students with disabilities

The conference titled MapAbility: strengthen the accessibility of higher education institutions to students with special needs took place at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on June 2, 2014. 

At the conference, Autism-Europe’s Director, Aurélie Baranger, discussed ways of increasing the participation of people with disabilities, including autism, in higher education and the Erasmus exchange programme, together with representatives of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), the European Commission and other disability organisations from across Europe. 
Autism-Europe is collaborating with ESN to map the accessibility of higher education institutions in Europe for students with disabilities and special needs, including students with autism.  
The first results of the MapAbility project regarding the mapping of the accessibility of the European Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across Europe were also presented at the conference. 
More information (English & French)
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Switzerland, Georgia and Andorra ratify the UNCRPD

Switzerland, Georgia and Andorra became the most recent European countries to ratify the United Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Andorra ratified the Convention and Optional Protocol on March 11, 2014.
Georgia ratified the Convention on March 13, 2014.
Switzerland ratified the Convention on April 15, 2014.
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Autism-Europe contributes to the Health and Human Rights Resource Guide published by Harvard University

Autism-Europe has contributed to the fifth edition of the Health and Human Rights Resource Guide, published by Harvard University.
The publication, which has officially been launched, is designed to be a resource on how to apply a human rights-based approach to health issues for advocates and practitioners worldwide. It contains useful information on the human right to health and nine chapters that focus on specific health issues or vulnerable groups within the population, including people with disabilities.
The guide describes the collective complaint against France with regard to the right to education of children and adults with autism. It  includes the landmark decision of the Council of Europe (Autism-Europe v. France, complaint No. 13/2002) whereby France was found to have failed its educational obligations to people with autism under the European Social Charter.



Autism-Europe Annual General Assembly and Council of Administration meeting were held in Luxembourg on May 2 to 4, 2014

The last Autism-Europe General Assembly and Council of Administration meeting were held in Luxembourg on May 2 to 4, 2014. The meetings were hosted by Fondation Autisme Luxembourg (FAL) and were accompanied by a study visit to a residential service for people with autism in Munshausen. 
At these meetings, representatives of European autism organisations gathered together to discuss and vote on issues related to Autism-Europe’s activities and membership.
Highlights of the meetings included the (re)election of members of the Council of Administration, now 40 members from 27 countries. There was also a presentation on the topic of autism and work given by the company SAP, which is hiring people with autism with the aim that by 2020, 1 percent of its global staff will be people with autism.
There were also multiple training and workshop sessions, other presentations and discussions on a wide range of issues. These included access to employment and education, the implementation of the UNCRPD and the new European Structural Funds.
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Find out what autism organisations around Europe did on World Autism Awareness Day 2014

Once again, Autism-Europe members have joined others around the world in calling for increased awareness of autism through a wide range of events and activities for World Autism Awareness Day 2014. Across Europe, bell-ringing ceremonies were held at stock exchanges and buildings were lit up blue at night. There were also conferences, art exhibitions and many other events, all aiming to raise awareness of autism.

More details about what Autism-Europe members did on WAAD 2014 are available on our website. Please contact us with details and photos of your events if you’d like them to be included. Meanwhile, you can see many photos from around Europe on World Autism Awareness Day 2014 on Facebook (if you can’t see the photos, login to Facebook, and ‘like’ the Autism-Europe fan page: ).
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Ringing the bell for World Autism Awareness Day 2014 at the stock exchanges across Europe!

For the fifth year in a row, Autism-Europe members were cooperating with NYSE Euronext to raise awareness of autism through bell-ringing ceremonies at stock exchanges in several cities across Europe.

  • On April 2, the stock exchange in Brussels held a bell ringing ceremony to open the trading day. Minister for Health, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunity of the Wallonian Government, Eliane Tillieux, rang the bell alongside numerous guests from Flemish and Wallonian autism organisations and Autism-Europe’s Director, Aurélie Baranger. Watch the video here
  • On World Autism Awareness Day, our Vice President, Evelyne Friedel, took part in a ceremony in which a young man with autism rang the bell to close the day's trading at the Euronext stock exchange in Paris. Watch the video here
  • Autism-Europe's Council of Administration member Isabel Cottinelli Telmo and people with autism rang the stock exchange’s closing bell in Lisbon during an event to raise awareness of autism. The event was also attended by government representatives and professionals. More information



Today is World Autism Awareness Day!

On World Autism Awareness Day, President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, is supporting our 'Autism and work. Together we can.' campaign, and calling for innovative employment opportunities for people with autism across Europe!


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Minister for Health, Eliane Tillieux, to ring the opening bell at the stock exchange in Brussels on United Nations World Autism Awareness Day

On Wednesday April 2 at 8.45am, the Bourse in Brussels will hold a bell ringing ceremony at the opening of the day’s trading to mark World Autism Awareness Day. 

Minister for Health, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunity of the Wallonian Government, Eliane Tillieux, will ring the bell alongside numerous guests from Flemish and Wallonian autism organisations and Autism-Europe. 

World Autism Awareness Day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007 as an annual day to draw attention to the urgent needs of people with autism around the world.
During the evenings of Tuesday April 1 and Wednesday April 2, the Bourse will also be lit up in blue as part of the global ‘Light it up blue’ initiative to raise awareness about autism. Around the world, many prominent buildings are lit up in blue on April 2 as part of this initiative, including the Empire State building in New York, the Sydney Opera House, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil and even the pyramids in Egypt. 
Bell-ringing ceremonies will also be held at stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Lisbon, Paris and New York. At these ceremonies, representatives of autism organisations will join celebrities and politicians to sound the opening and closing bells of stock exchanges to raise awareness about autism. 
Europeans will also hold a range of other events and activities across the continent, including film festivals, art exhibitions, conferences, balloon releases and much more.
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Raising awareness of the specific needs of women with autism at the European Parliament

Delegates from the ‘Autism in Pink’ project, together with a group of women with autism and their families, participated in a study visit at the European Parliament last week. The aim was to discuss and raise awareness of the specific needs of women with autism among Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). 

Participants highlighted that action is urgently required to better understand the gender dimension in autism and the specific issues faced by women and girls with autism. They also emphasised the need to raise awareness of the issues faced by women and girls with autism among professionals in education and health as well as employers to reduce under-diagnosis and misdiagnosis, and reduce discrimination.
Participants submitted specific recommendations, including:
  • Ensuring the review of EDS 2010-2020 planned for 2016 addresses the gender dimension in disability and autism in particular;
  • Raising a parliamentary question asking how the issue of under-diagnosis of autism in women and girls can be addressed.
Autism in Pink is a European collaborative project to increase the visibility of girls and women with autism which is being conducted by several autism organisations with support from Autism-Europe.
More information (English, Lithuanian, Spanish and Portuguese)
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Autism-Europe President receives official distinction in Hungary

Autism-Europe President, Zsuzsanna Szilvásy, has received an official distinction from the Hungarian Government for her work on the social inclusion of people with autism as part of her role within Autism-Europe. 

Ms Szilvásy has been awarded the Bronze Cross of the Order of Merit  by the President of the Republic of Hungary, János Áder, at a ceremony at the Palace of Arts in Budapest on March 7, 2014.
This honour recognises Ms Szilvásy’s leading role in advocating for the rights of people with autism and raising awareness about autism among policy makers at the European level.
More information, contact: secretariat(at)

The Council of Europe condemns France for discrimination against people with autism in education

The Council of Europe has condemned France for failing to fulfil its educational obligations to people with autism under the European Social Charter. 
This decision upheld the collective complaint that disability organisations had lodged against the French Government concerning the schooling of children and vocational training of young adults with autism. 
The relevant laws related to education in France were analysed by the European Committee of Social Rights, which concluded that:
  • There is a violation of Article 15.1 of the European Social Charter: 
- With regard to the right of children and adolescents with autism to be educated primarily in mainstream schools;
- With regard to the right of young persons with autism to vocational training;
- Because the work done in specialised institutions caring for children and adolescents with autism is not predominantly educational in nature.
  • There is a violation of Article E taken in conjunction with Article 15.1, because families have no other choice than to leave the national territory in order to educate their children with autism in a specialised school, which constitutes a direct discrimination against them.
  • There is a violation of Article E taken in conjunction with Article 15.1, because the limited funds in the State’s social budget for the education of children and adolescents with autism indirectly disadvantages these persons with disabilities.
In Resolution CM/ResChS(2014)2, the Council of Europe calls on France to report on its progress towards improvement in these areas.
View the resolution (English only) 
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Thanks a lot to Venite Cantemus Paris 7 Dec 2013 for their support to Autism-Europe !

The concert helped Autism-Europe to support people with autism and their families to advocate for their rights. The proceeds of the event will support our action in Europe, and in particular our "Count Me In" project for promoting the employment in the artistic sector! 

The Venite Cantemus concert brought together around 350 choral singers from all over the world to sing Handel’s Messiah on December 7, at the Madeleine Church in Paris.
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Ask your MEP to sign the written declarations of the European Parliament in support of people with autism

There are currently two written declarations in support of the rights of people with autism awaiting signatures from Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Autism-Europe is calling on our members and supporters across Europe to contact MEPs from their own countries and ask them to sign these declarations by March 9, 2014. 
The ‘Written declaration on protection of people with autism from bullying’ (0024/2013) highlights the need for:
  • awareness of bullying issues for people with autism;
  • research and statistics on the subject of bullying experienced by people with autism;
  • exchange of best practice examples of legislation and police recording of hate crimes against people with disabilities.
  • awareness of the lack of education and employment opportunities for people with autism;
  • exchange of best practices and research on the subject of education and employment for people with autism;
  • efforts to increase awareness among public and private employers of the financial support for, and benefits of, employing people with autism.
In Strasbourg Written Declarations can be signed in person at office: LOW T2024. 
Between sessions Written Declarations can be signed at office: PHS 07C087.
Find the MEPs for your country here:
Scroll down to find their contact details on the right hand side or contact Autism-Europe if you would like a list of email addresses for MEPs in your country.  
NOTE: A written declaration of the European Parliament is a short principled document (maximum 200 words) that can give direction to the institutions of the European Union and EU Member States. It is not, however, a binding document.

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