On January 11, the Spanish University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) welcomed twelve partners from four European countries, including Autism-Europe, to the first meeting of the ETTECEC project. Funded by the Erasmus+ programme, the project was launched the same day in a press conference attended by over 50 people including people on the autism spectrum, professionals, parents, academics, policy makers, journalist and other interested parties.
Starting on October 2017, the ETTECEC project (Early aTTention for the inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorders in Early Childhood Education and Care systems) held its kickoff meeting with partners from Spain, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Belgium. The meeting aimed to share an understanding of the project’s purpose and ensure its viability and success. Different organisational aspects, such as the main objectives, programme development, methodologies, tasks, roles, visual identity, dissemination and evaluation strategies and finances, were addressed.
This project, funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme, aims at developing online training for pre-school teachers in order to allow them to have the necessary knowledge and competences to include autistic children in their classroom activities, which will reduce disparities in learning outcomes between children with and without autism spectrum disorders.
In total 18 teachers from five schools in Slovenia, Czech Republic and Spain will be trained and 270 corresponding children will be directly involved in the piloting of the new methods implemented in the classroom. Its fundamental philosophy could make it equally relevant to other stages of education where it could be successfully applied (considering the different needs and features of their learners).
ETTECEC partners will meet again on June 19, 2018 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The project foresees four transnational meetings over its two-year lifespan.
In the afternoon, a press conference was organised by the project coordinator Asociación Mi Hijo y Yo at the Rectorate Building, in order to introduce the project not only to the local and regional press, but also to other interested parties including people on the autism spectrum, parents, academics, professional and local policy makers.
President of the Asociación Mi Hijo y Yo, María Davinia González; Dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences of the ULPGC, Ángeles Perera Santana; Deputy Minister of Education of the Canary Islands Government, David Pérez-Dionis, and Professor Octavio O’Shanahan introduced the project to the audience.
Following this, project partners from Slovenia and the Czech Republic had the opportunity to introduce their associations and facilities by showing a video. Autism-Europe representative Cristina Fernández introduced the organisation and its role as the project’s dissemination and evaluation partner, highlighting the importance of respecting the right to provide autistic children with adapted education according to their specific needs.
The project was successfully featured by different media including radio stations, television channels and press outlets.