Autism-Europe (AE) together with its partners from Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Austria and Spain successfully completed the Erasmus+ project Neurodivergent. The project ran from 2020 until March 2023 to optimise learning outcomes for autistic youngsters in Vocational Education and Training (VET) and in turn decrease their chances of early school leaving. Therefore, training programmes for educational professionals and staff was developed to enhance their abilities to work successfully with autistic students in VET. All the training materials are freely available for download in all partners’ languages via the website.
Young autistic adults face various barriers while accessing (initial) vocational education and training (VET) including university or college, due to a lack of appropriate support. The demands on these students in (initial) VET can result in slower completion rates, school failure and even school dropout. There is a clear need for interventions from teachers and trainers in an educational context.
Watch a testimony from a student at Sotogrande International School in Spain here.
Project coordinator VET provider Godalen Vidergående Skole from Norway developed together with AE’s Norwegian member association Autismeforeningen i Norge and Kristianstad University in Sweden training programmes and a toolkit for initial VET staff. The topics covered by the training modules were:
- What is autism?
- Preparing the environment in VET for the autistic student,
- How to teach autistic students / what are tools for trainers,
- How to support and communicate with autistic learners and
- How to build strong relationships with the wider environment.
Teachers and educators from Godalen Vidergående Skole, from Riga 5th Primary School Development Center in Latvia, at Bildungsdirektion für Wien (Board of Education Vienna) in Austria and from Sotogrande International School in Spain then successfully pilot tested these training programmes.
The result was didactic guidelines and a curriculum with specific pedagogic advice for VET teachers of autistic learners, including involving their relatives or carers from the beginning as well as non-autistic peers in VET. The guidelines address the issue of reasonable accommodation of the environment of the autistic learner in VET in relation to sensory sensitives and communication.
Finally, in close consultation with all partners Autism-Europe drafted concrete policy recommendations for regional and local VET providers and policymakers throughout Europe.
About the Erasmus+ Programme
Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.