Autism-Europe, along with four partners, is involved in the project titled Vocational training on Communication and Teaching Approaches in Autism Spectrum Disorders (Train-ASD), which aims at empowering teachers in Greece, Romania and Belgium to support effective teaching approaches and alternative methods of communication for children on the autism spectrum.
Running from October 2018 to September 2020, the project is funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme. The strategic partnership’s objective is to exchange know-how to develop a large-scale training programme on the use of alternative communication systems for autistic children in the countries involved in the project.
Partners come from various backgrounds – both national and cultural – and have a wide set of skills. The project coordinator, Christine Syriopoulou from the University of Macedonia (Greece), will work closely with all the other partners the University of Bucharest (Romania); the Greek Scientific Foundation of Special Education (GREFSE); a company specialized in Computer Assisted Learning INTE*LEARN (Greece) and Autism-Europe (Belgium).
On 11-12 December 2018, partners gathered for the kickoff meeting of the project hosted by the University of Macedonia (UOM) in Thessaloniki, Greece. Prof. Eugenia Alexandropoulou (Vice Rector of the University of Macedonia), Prof. Vicki Karavakou (Department of Education and Social Sciences) and Yannis Frangopoulos, representative of the Greek Erasmus+ Agency, welcomed partners to Thessaloniki and highlighted the relevance of the project to foster inclusion of people on the autism spectrum and address the current knowledge gap in the country.
At this stage, partners are undertaking an analysis to identify teacher’s needs prior to the development of the curriculum and programme materials and the e-learning platforms. In this regard, Ruxandra Foloştină, Senior Lecturer from the University of Bucharest updated partners about the Romanian special education system and teaching education.
Besides, partners got further information about other ongoing projects developed by the UOM in the field of autism thanks to a presentation given by Prof. Nikos Fachantidis, member of the Robotic Academy of the UoM.