The objective of the training was to equip these workers to be able to guide the development of lifelong learning among children with autism 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.
APPDA, Portuguese Association for Autism, with the partnership of Autismo Burgos, the Portuguese University of Azores, Autistik (Czech Republic) and Autism Foundation (Hungary) won the project “Side by side”, to put in practice a course for training families and non-qualified staff using an interactive web page. Autism-Europe will disseminate the results of the project among its members.