On October 30, more than 30 professionals, academics, representatives of autism associations, representatives of local regional institutions, journalists, students and other interested parties took part in the Spanish national event of the IPA+, and hosted by the Universidad de Burgos – UBU and organized by Autismo Burgos.
In the conference, held in the Faculty of Law, the IPA+ curriculum and toolkit developed in the framework of the project were presented to representatives of more than 10 different areas, including professors of the University of Burgos and University of Valladolid and representatives from the Provincial Directorate of Education on Burgos, the Spanish Association of Professionals on Autism (AETAPI), the Social Service Management, the national association Autismo España, local press (including TV channels and newspapers), the Miradas Foundation, and healthcare professionals of the Hospital of Burgos and, at the international level, academics from the University of Mexico and the educational Center DIAA.
José Miguel García Pérez, Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Burgos, was the first speaker. He highlighted the importance of updating and generalizing knowledge at a European level in the field of autism. He congratulated Autismo Burgos for having participated in the IPA + project and thanked the attendees for their presence and dissemination.
María Antonia Paniego, Manager of Social Services of the regional government (Junta de Castilla y León) in Burgos, stressed the value of this type of initiatives to extend knowledge and improve the care of people on the autism spectrum.
José Luis Cuesta, IPA+ coordinator, member of Polibienestar, Autismo Burgos’ partner, introduced the project, justifying the need to have a specialized training program in autism at European level. He pointed out that, at the beginning, the existing proposals focused almost exclusively on the school ages and were addressed just to professionals working on the field of education. The IPA+ training was conceived as a training option for professionals from different disciplines dealing with autism, offering lifelong guidelines and tools to intervene in different contexts. This project has also taken advantage of technological the resources to improve classical training by combining face-to-face sessions with some more practical ones.
The IPA+ curriculum has been developed through a process that combined the use of different research techniques, such as bibliographic review and discussion groups, with the opinion of groups of experts, to guarantee its scientific approach. Christian García Serna from Autismo Burgos introduced the content of the IPA+ training and explained how Autismo Burgos trialed it using a dedicated Moodle platform.
At the end of the event, attendees were invited to follow discussions and they evaluated the event in a very positive way:
“It is a very interesting initiative ”
“It is necessary to banish old myths of autism”
“It is very good to have access to information about autism online”