In September 2020, the Autism Spectrum Disorder-Empowering and Supporting Teachers (ASD-EAST) project, of which Autism-Europe is a partner, officially released its Autism Teacher Training Curriculum and corresponding training materials in English, French, Croatian, Macedonian and Polish.
Running from September 2018 to August 2020, this Erasmus+ project empowers specialist teachers and professionals in Croatia, Poland and the Republic of North Macedonia to support the effective inclusion of children with autism in education, by providing them with appropriate skills, knowledge, effective strategies and locally-appropriate training.
The Autism Teacher Training Curriculum provides a programme which supports teachers in learning about various topics related to autism and teaching. The curriculum was developed to provide teachers with the tools to better support the inclusion and participation of autistic students in their classrooms. Through the learning formats of lectures, workshops, discussion groups, case studies, examples from school and everyday life, the ASD-EAST training:
- introduces key knowledge
- enhances understanding
- improves practical skills in the use of appropriate strategies for teaching primary school students on the autism spectrum in both mainstream and special education educational settings.
This curriculum has been designed through multiple methods: a literature review, a review of current ‘best practice’ in autism, and a survey of the knowledge, confidence and self-identified training needs of teachers who work with autistic students in Croatia, North Macedonia and Poland.
The curriculum comprises six modules addressing the following topics:
- Supporting communication
- Emotional regulation
- Social skills
- Sensory needs
- Modifications and adaptations
- Challenging behaviour
Each module includes activities, tips, resources and reflections to aid teachers in their learning. Prior to creating the curriculum, ASD-EAST partners conducted a study that found that teachers held differing opinions about autism and had low levels of training on specific teaching methods for autistic learners. Based on this study, materials were developed and then piloted with 259 teachers in Croatia, North Macedonia and Poland during the autumn/winter of 2019-20. There was high satisfaction with the trainings with 92.5% of respondents stating that their expectations were fulfilled.
The learning materials in each module have been designed to enhance knowledge and understanding about the diverse needs of learners on the autism spectrum and improve the skills of those working with them in different settings. The goal of the materials is to empower professionals to be able to make evidence-informed decision to support the participation of autistic learners in mainstream and special schools, and to support effective communication and collaboration between professionals and parents so that knowledge and understanding is shared.
Download the curriculum:
Download the corresponding teacher training materials:
Download the ASD-EAST Recommendations to improve specialist teaching support for autism in Europe