Nowadays, Autism-Europe ensures effective liaison between nearly 85 member associations of parents of persons with autism in 30 European countries, governments and European and international institutions.
In 1980, several associations of parents of persons with autism from various European countries got together to organize their first Congress. The aim was to encourage the exchange of knowledge among researchers, medical doctors and other professionals active in the field of autism. As a result, information about causes, diagnosis, care, management and education also became more available to parents and fuelled their activities.
During the preparation of a second Congress in 1983, the associations involved decided to create a permanent umbrella association named Autism-Europe. Initially, Autism-Europe comprised 23 national and regional associations.
Autism-Europe’s overarching statutory mission is to improve the life of all persons with autism by promoting their rights. It is achieved through:
- Representing persons with autism towards all EU institutions
- Promoting awareness on the appropriate care, education, and well-being of persons with autism
- Promoting the exchange of information, good practices and experience.
Autism-Europe plays a key role in raising public awareness, and in influencing the European decision-makers on all issues relating to autism, including the promotion of the rights of people with autism and other disabilities involving complex dependency needs. Autism-Europe has established a structured dialogue with the European Institutions and is also active towards the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Autism Europe also enjoys NGO participative status with the Council of Europe and in July 2002 lodged a collective complaint with the European Committee of Social Rights, becoming the first disability NGO to undertake such action.
To maximise our impact on EU policies, Autism-Europe works in strategic coalitions with organisations that share the same concerns and goals. These include the European Disability Forum (EDF), the Platform of European Social NGOs and the European Coalition for Community Living (ECCL). Autism Europe is a founder member of these organisations and currently holds the vice presidency of EDF.
Autism Europe's activities include:
- Publications: LINK magazine; position papers on health, aging, inclusion, education and family needs; other documents
- Advocacy for the rights of persons with autism and their families
- Initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of persons with autism and their families, including client-oriented service delivery and scientific research.