On November 8th 2020, Autism-Europe held the Train-ASD international event in conjunction with its Council of Administration meeting. The event was held online using the platform Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. 

The event was attended by 37 stakeholders from 19 different countries (Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Luxembourg, France, Greece, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, the UK, Russia, Canada, Norway, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Croatia, Latvia, Poland and Hungary).


Participants were members of the Autism-Europe’s Council of Administration. They represent Autism-Europe’s national and regional member associations, some of them deliver services. All of them are in close contact with professionals in the field of inclusive education in their countries and can be an important relay of information to foster adequate dissemination. Participants received an electronic version of the Train-ASD leaflet, and the PowerPoint presentation presented by Christine Syriopoulou right after the event. All of them are subscribed to the Train-ASD dedicated newsletter. Interpretation was available in English and in French.


Harald Neerland, president of Autism-Europe, introduced the project and talked about the importance of inclusive education in the framework of the Autism-Europe’s Work Plan 2018- 2021, and the new EU Disability Strategy 2021-2030. The project relates directly with the Autism-Europe’s current awareness campaign “I can LEARN, I can WORK”.


Autism-Europe's Director Aurélie Baranger did a brief presentation of the ongoing projects undertaken by Autism-Europe in 2020, including those that are also in the field of inclusive education. She gave an overview of the project’s partnership and features and explained the latest developments and achievements. She then introduced Dr. Christine Syriopoulou to the participants.


Dr. Christine Syriopoulou started her presentation explaining that the University of Macedonia works on many conditions, including the awareness-raising on the issues faced by autistic people among professionals, researchers, and especially teachers. She stressed the need of such a project in the targeted countries. Then she reported the state of affairs in the partner countries, including the situation in Belgium.


Dr. Christine Syriopoulou talked about the collaboration on educational materials to develop the Train-ASD curriculum, courses, the e-Learning platform and its learning management system. She highlighted that course is open to anyone, professional, students and parents and explained that another kind of stakeholders is also interested in it (such as self-advocates or academics). She encourages everyone to certify their knowledge by using the Train-ASD platform.


Then she gave a detailed overview of the dissemination actions of the project and made a call to the audience to send her their input and further disseminate the results of the projects. She talked about the project’s dissemination materials, including the leaflets available in Greek, Romanian, French and English. She proudly mentioned the popularity of the project and informed that the initiative was awarded with the Gold Award at the Education Leaders Awards 2020 in the field of Digital Education. Finally, she gave an overview of the media coverage and press releases, as well as introducing the project’s social media channels.

The Train-ASD was very well received by participants and the event was greeted by them. Various Autism-Europe members asked for the presentation afterward to share it among their network, including the Autism-Europe’s member from Wallonia the APEPA. Education is one of the main fields of activities of the association APEPA. Regarding specialised education the APEPA, together with SUSA, is at the origin of the TEACCH classes imported from the United States, designated since the 2009 decree by the name "Classes à pédagogie adaptée pour les élèves avec autisme" (adapted pedagogy classes for students with autism). The APEPA updates the list of classes with adapted teaching methods every year. In mainstream education, the APEPA is part of the reflection group on reasonable accommodation initiated by the Equal Opportunities Department of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities (now UNIA) and the General Delegate for Children's Rights.