On November 7th 2020, Autism-Europe (AE) held its Annual General Assembly (AGA) online, due to the restrictions linked to COVID-19, with the participation of more than 80 members representing individuals and associations from 26 different countries. The assembly, held in conjunction with a Council of Administration (CoA) meeting the day after, was initially due to be hosted by the JiM Foundation in Krakow. If circumstances permit, members will meet in Poland next year.
Members received a comprehensive update on the activities carried out by Autism-Europe since the last AGA, and had the opportunity to share feedback. An important discussion took place about AE’s upcoming report on the impact of the COVID-19 on autistic people and their families across Europe.
During the spring of 2020, AE conducted an online survey on the situation of autistic people and their families during the COVID-19 spread. Autistic people and their families were invited to answer and disseminate the survey which was available in the following languages: English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Bulgarian, Greek and Ukrainian. The survey received responses by more than 1,800 respondents.
Members were also invited to discuss the analysis of the impact of AE’s awareness-raising campaigns conducted in 2019 and 2020. They reflected on possible strategies and actions for adapting the current 2-year campaign to the current situation in 2021 and the on-going impact of COVID-19.
On this occasion, AE also welcomed seven new member associations:
- Associació d´Afectats d´Autisme d´Andorra (AUTEA) – Andorra (Full member)
- The Local Charity Public Association “A Good Deed. Help to People with Autism”– Republic of Belarus (affiliated member)
- Autism Support Famagusta – Cyprus (affiliated members)
- Fondation 3A – France (affiliated member)
- Chuvash Regional Public Organization for Helping Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders “Krilia” – Russia – (affiliated member)
- Autism Foundation – Finland (associated member)
- Denizli Autism Association – Turkey (associated member)
The next day, on November 8th, members of the CoA and observers held a workshop in preparation for the review of the European Union by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and discussed the scope of AE’s future alternative report.
Participants were also updated by the JiM Foundation about the organization of AE’s next International Congress to be held in Krakow in 2022. An introduction to the Train-ASD project and its e-learning platform on alternative systems of communication followed by the project coordinator, Christine Syriopoulou.
Elections were held for the renewal by half of the members of CoA, that welcomed two new members: Barbara Znidarko representing the affiliated member Zveza NVO za avtizem from Slovenia, and Vincent Grimaldi de Puget, an individual member and self-advocate from France.