One year ago, Autism-Europe (AE) joined partners in the Erasmus+ project My Virtual World. Together with the coordinator from France and partners from Ireland, Sweden and Italy, the project running for yet another year aims to improve vocational education and training experiences for autistic people. Recently, the methodology and training curriculum handbook as a framework for the 3D Job Environment for autistic people, the project’s first major milestone, was published in English, Swedish, French and Italian.
The handbook released this September entitled “My Virtual World – 3D Job Environment for Autistic People Methodology and Training Curriculum” was the first major deliverable of the project. All partners participated in the drafting of this outcome. It contains a plethora of topics from introduction to autism all the way to awareness among employers and autistic employees for meaningful workplace inclusion.
An introduction into political measures to promote labour market inclusion for autistic jobseekers opens the document. The first two chapters were drafted by AE:
- Chapter 1 covers insights into understanding the needs and rights of autistic people and acceptable language around autism.
- Chapter 2 covers practical ways of communicating with employees on the autism spectrum.
- Chapter 3 lays out specific guidelines for trainers when communicating with and training autistic people.
- Chapter 4 lists good practices in value-based training and employment for people on the autism spectrum.
- Chapter 5 suggests how to create an autism-friendly workplace.
- Chapter 6 deals with increasing digital literacy for jobseekers on the autism spectrum.
- Chapter 7 aims to help employers understand virtual realities to aid the autistic workforce.
- Chapter 8 explains to autistic people how productivity works in employment.
- The final chapter 9 is a short guide to create common understanding of meaningful workplace communication.
Section B lists good practices for workplace inclusion for autistic people and other people with disabilities from several European countries. In an effort to develop post-project dissemination, AE ensured that the result of the Innovative Vocational Education for Autism (IVEA) Erasmus+ project, which ran from 2018 to 2021, is included in that section of the handbook.
During the course of the Erasmus+ project My Virtual World, AE met partners School of Coding (SOC) Blended Learning (Ireland), Elderberry AB (Sweden), IDP European Consultants by Giancarlo Costantino (Italy), and SInAPSi (Services for Active and Participated Inclusion of Students) of the University of Naples (Italy) in February 2023 in Marseilles, France. The meeting was hosted by coordinator Institut Régional d’Insertion Professionnelle et Sociale (IRIPS). The second meeting took place in September 2023 in Dublin, Ireland and was hosted by SOC.
The next main stage of the My Virtual World project will be to develop the virtual reality training itself. SOC will be leading this deliverable. The VR training will be presented to partners at the next meeting, which will take place next year in Brussels, Belgium.