The “Inclusion of people with autism in Europe. Towards a specialised training model for professionals (IPA+)”, running from September 2016 to August 2018 and funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme, focuses on developing a basic training of reference point for all professionals working with people with autism independently of their area of knowledge. The project responds to the existing gaps in training on autism within the target countries, the demands of society in general, and the requirements of this group of population and their families.
The training to be developed and tested under IPA+ will have a lifelong perspective, following an evidence-centred approach, and the contents will be based on scientific advances and outputs.
The project brings together academics, multidisciplinary professionals, parents and self-advocates from various autism organisations across Europe. Those involved come from various backgrounds – both national and cultural – and have a wide set of skills.
The project coordinator, the Research Institute on Social Welfare Policy (POLIBIENESTAR) of the University of Valencia from Spain, works closely with all the other partners: Asociación de Padres de Personas con Autismo– Autismo Burgos (AB) from Spain, Autism-Europe (AE) from Belgium, Savez udruzenja Srbije za pomoc osobama sa autizmom -Autizam Srbija (SSA) from Serbia and Federação Portuguesa de Autismo (FPDA) from Portugal.
Autism is a lifelong disorder of the brain. Autism (frequently defined as ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorders) affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. Although autism was once believed to be rare, epidemiological studies have now demonstrated that autism affects around 1 in 100 people.
Taking into account the diversity of the profiles of people on the autism spectrum (including children, adults, seniors or people with intellectual disabilities), as well as the current approaches and intervention models in autism which are restructuring support services and the role of professionals, a new educational strategy is needed to qualify professionals to support people with autism in the different contexts and spheres of life and throughout their lifetime.
The experiences that have shown the highest levels of development in autistic people and better prospects for the future are, in general, linked to organisations or care centres with specialised services that demonstrate a positive relationship between training and specialisation of professionals. These facts suggest the need to deliver training and award qualifications to those professionals working with autistic people.
 Elsabbagh et al. 2012; Fombonne, 2011; ADDM 2012; Mattila et al. 2011; Saemundsen et al. 2013; Baird et al. 2011.