This publication aims at making evidence-based data from European and international research available to the wider public, so as to promote a better understanding of autism and in turn, have a positive impact on the lives of people on the autism spectrum. The document offers guidance on various key aspects from diagnosis to lifelong support in view of promoting an evidence-based and rights-based approach to autism in line with the social model of disability and the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
Since the first publication of this reference document in 2000, the understanding of autism has greatly evolved but disparities persist in Europe regarding access to evidence-based knowledge. In addition, many research areas are still to be explored to a greater extent to offer people on the autism spectrum the best possible care and support as well as equal access to opportunities.
The document is aimed not only at people on the autism spectrum and their families but also at professionals and public authorities responsible to implement the necessary measures so that people on the autism spectrum can fully enjoy their rights and participate in society.
The publication has been co-authored by a team of renowned experts in the field of autism: Catherine Barthélémy, Joaquín Fuentes, Patricia Howlin and Rutger Jan van der Gaag. According to one of its authors, Dr. Fuentes, speaking on behalf of the team: “In comparison with our last edition, in this one we put even more emphasis on strengths; took into account the whole life span, and stressed Quality of Life”.
It has also been reviewed by the following experts, who will prepare the next revised edition in 2024-2025: Prof. Fréderique Bonnet-Brilhaut (France), Dr. James Cusack (UK), Prof. Wouter Staal (The Netherlands) and Marcos Zamora-Herranz, BS, MS (Spain).
The document includes an easy to read summary.