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Side-by-Side (2003 – 2005)

Running from 2003 to 2005, the Side-by-Side project provided training to non-qualified staff who work in autism organisations across Europe, to facilitate lifelong learning for autistic people.

The objective of the training was to equip these workers to be able to guide the development of lifelong learning among autistic children by promoting: independent studying and the use of new information and communication technologies, their development of independence and autonomy skills while involving not just staff but family members too, and by promoting artistic expression. It also sought to help develop European co-operation and the dissemination of good practices.

The training lasted 24 months (October 2003 – September 2005) and consisted of 6 thematic modules. These non-sequential modules covered a range of areas: 1) important aspects to know about autism and diagnosing, 2) lifelong learning and autism, 3) health and quality of life, 4) lifelong learning new technologies and training, 5) the fight against social exclusion, and 6) contribution of the creative arts to the elimination of cultural barriers in Europe.

This training was carried out via an interactive website. At initial stages the non-qualified staff used the program under the supervision of trainers, after which the trainees could access the website independently.

The project’s coordinator Portuguese Association for Autism – APPDA (Portugal), in partnership with Autismo Burgos (Spain), the Portuguese University of Azores (Portugal), Autistik (Czech Republic), Autism Foundation (Hungary) and Autism-Europe (Belgium), implemented the Side-by-side project. Autism-Europe was in charge of the dissemination of project’s results.

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