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40 representatives from 18 countries gather for the AE’ Council of Administration meeting in Brussels

To mark the European Days of Persons with Disabilities (EDPD)Autism-Europe held its Council of Administration meeting on December 1 and 2. Almost 40 representatives from 18 countries from Europe and beyond gathered in Brussels. They exchanged on how to best address the issues faced by autistic people and their families, prior to the events organised by the European Commission on the occasion of the EDPD.

The first day, the meeting included the participation of Alejandro Moledo from the European Disability Forum (EDF) and Chiara Giovannini from ANEC (the European consumer voice in standardization), who delivered an interactive training on the standardization process to participants. Following the recent initial agreement on the European Accessibility Act, Autism-Europe aims at building the capacity of its members to get involved in the standardization process – that plays a big role in making goods and products accessible.

At this meeting, representatives of European autism organisations met to discuss and vote on various issues related to AE’s activities. Executive Committee member Harald Neerland was elected as future President-elect of Autism-Europe, his mandate will run from 2020 to 2024. Current president Zsuzsanna Szilvasy will continue to hold office until 2020.

Highlights of the meetings included the presentation of the implementation of the work programme 2018, the proposal of work programme 2019, the 2019 awareness-raising and advocacy campaign and a fundraising strategy for the next three years. The activities conducted by Autism-Europe have a strong emphasis on supporting access to education, employment and a better public health response (including mental health) for autism as well as fostering the participation of self-advocates.

Members also received an update on the preparations for AE’s 12th International Congress in Nice in 2019, for which the call for abstracts is open until 31 January. To conclude the meeting, our member the APEPA and Veronique Lenoir (from the SUSA Foundation) presented the Belgian initiative “Participate !”, an online platform, both in Dutch and in French, to empower parents of autistic children who have just received a diagnostic  and want to access easy-to-read information on autism and evidence-based practices,  as well as useful advice and tools, through documents and explanatory videos.