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AE stresses needs of autistic people at public hearing on the EU Disability Strategy

Autism-Europe underlined the need for future EU activities to take on a holistic and harmonised approach to supporting autistic people, especially regarding employment, at a public hearing held at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on the 3 October 2017. 

The public hearing provided a platform for civil society groups to make recommendations to the EU on how to fulfil their obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Autism-Europe was one of a number of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) speaking at a public hearing hosted by the Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. The hearing focused in particular on the future of the EU Disability Strategy after 2020, and took as a reference point the CRPD Committee’s concluding observations to the EU two years ago.

Haydn Hammersley from Autism-Europe gave a presentation from the floor in which he called for the EU to better coordinate its policies in different areas when seeking to support equality for persons with disabilities. The example was given of the gap between the existing Employment Equality Directive, and the lack of  guidance from the EU to Member States on offering reasonable accommodation and support in educational settings. Furthermore, Autism-Europe also stressed the importance of building awareness among employers on how to recruit and support their autistic staff.

The opportunity was also used to remind representatives from the EU institutions that better guidance and minimum quality standards needs to be given to EU Member States concerning the training of professionals working with people on the autism spectrum, namely teachers and health professionals.

Finally, Autism-Europe requested that, in its future Disability Strategy post 2020, the EU supports Member States to adopt common EU guidelines on gold-standard screening and diagnosis instruments and criteria as well as intervention for autism, and take concrete steps to facilitate early diagnosis and access to quality support services.