On May 14th, 2022 Autism-Europe (AE) held its Annual General Assembly (AGA) in a hybrid format for the first time: some members attended online and around 20 representatives met in Cracow, Poland, after more than two years without in-person meetings. Over 50 member organisations and individuals from 24 different countries came together to discuss and vote on AE activities. Krakow is also set to host AE 13th International congress in October. The situation of autistic people in Ukraine was also central to the discussion. AE also welcomed Autism HELP Association from Romania as a new associated member. Prior to the meeting, members and AE´s staff had the opportunity to visit our associated member, the Farm of life run by the Fundacja Wspólnota Nadziei (Community of Hope Foundation) one of the only community-based residential services for autistic adults in Poland.
During the AGA meeting, members had the opportunity to get insight into the work conducted by Autism-Europe in 2021 and the 2022 work program, developed under the EU Citizens, Equality, Rights, and Values Programme.
This year, AE´s network has continued to grow as the AGA elected one new member: Autism HELP Association from Romania.
AE members received information and updates about all the projects AE is currently involved in, and their open-access resources.
Elections were held to renew half of the council of administration (CA) members in accordance with AE bylaws. CA members also met on Sunday 15th to discuss the 13th international congress, to be held in Krakow, hosted by the JiM Foundation. They also voted on the organizer of the International congress 2025.
Discussion about the situation of the autistic Ukrainian community and priorities
Central to the meeting, was the discussion about the situation of autistic people affected by the war in Ukraine. AE´s member from Ukraine Children with Future, represented by Iryna Sergiyenko and Ina Sergiyenko, shared updates on how autistic people and their families are dealing with the situation, both in Ukraine and as refugees. AE shared an overview of the different actions taken by its members at the European level to support the autistic community in Ukraine, as well as the fundraising activity that is still open to donations here. AE also presented the call to EU policy-makers developed together with EUCAP to ensure the protection of Ukrainian autistic people. Members from Poland and other countries highlighted the action they conduct to support Ukrainian refugees. The need for additional funding and coordination at national and EU levels to address the needs of autistic people was emphasized.
Preparing to celebrate AE 40th anniversary
AE also had the chance to launch a brainstorming around the celebration of its 40th anniversary in 2023. Members had fruitful group discussions to reflect on the achievements, progress, past, and future of the autistic community at the European level. AE is very grateful to all its members for their thoughts and ideas, which will be very useful to develop the campaign for both the anniversary and #AutismDay2023.
We are happy to share a photo album on Facebook from the AGA and the activities together with our members during the weekend