Context of IPA+ pilots
The two courses developed in the IPA+ project have been implemented as a pilot in Burgos (Spain) by Autismo Burgos, Lisbon (Portugal) by the Portuguese Federation for Autism and Belgrade (Serbia) by the Serbian Society of Autism.
In the following lines the main training needs of these entities as well as how they can benefit from these courses are described:
In Spain, current University degrees offer very theoretical contents and it is necessary that students receive a training that includes more practical contents.
Autismo Burgos receives volunteers and new workers constantly, so the IPA+ courses are very useful to ensure a more specific training. The advanced level allows an update in the knowledge of the most veteran workers, taking into account the constant advances that take place in the field of autism.
Both courses have proved to be an effective tool to reach consensus on the most relevant contents for students coming from different disciplines and, also, the format of the course allows students to incorporate themselves when it is more convenient for them.
Serbian Society of Autism
In Serbia, an “official” knowledge about autism is gained in the Faculty for Special Education and rehabilitation, where there is a department for autism. Usually, these professionals pursue their career in special schools and/or social welfare institutions (daily care center, residential care services).
However, there is a need for much wider, multi sectoral approach to people with autism, as they are entitled to mainstream education, approach to health care, community services and everyday life contents. This is the reason why autism training must be observed and carried out on a much comprehensive level, and delivered not only to professionals who may have some formal knowledge, such as mainstream school teachers, nurses, doctors of all specialties, social workers, speech therapists, psychologists etc. but also to community members – workers and (extended) family members so they get a picture about characteristics and needs of autism in different contexts and life stages.
In this way, every person will be able to provide support, to the extent that depends on their role in the society. In the previous years, SSA has done a lot on raising awareness, and providing an evidence-based autism-specific training in a time of social media and shady information that are widely available, is a next logical and valuable step. The composition of consortium and credibility of each partner additionally contributes to the credibility of training itself and its content.
Portuguese Federation for Autism (Portugal)
IPA+ project is relevant and useful in order to give the professionals the tools to face the challenge of the modern and enlarged concept of family in the changing world where people with ASD live.