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What is AUTO Project
According to the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, about 80 million people living in the EU have a mild to severe disability. The physical obstacles they face, like gaining access to a school or workplace, leave them vulnerable to social exclusion. Lower employment and education levels mean the poverty rate for those with disabilities is 70% higher than the average (cf. with UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities-CRPD).
There are currently around 3.3 million people in the European Union who have autism, yet in most European countries there are not enough basic services to meet their needs, and coordination of services at national level is often poor.
According to the partners experiences and several research reports, the most problem related to autistic people in relation to the access and stay in the labour market, lies in their behavioural patterns.
AUTO wants to face three main challenges:
- the need of dedicated methods of vocational guidance, specifically arranged for autistic people;
- the lack of soft and transversal competences necessaries to stay in the labour market (selfconfidence, consciousness, working in team, communication skills, etc);
- the necessity to create a bridge between the rehabilitation pathway and the access/stay into the labour market.
The project is aimed at people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), adults / young adults, in the transition from the end of secondary school (or special schools) to work to promote the socio-labor insertion and increase the level of employability. The objective is to be achieved through the implementation of their skills in the area of executive functions (ability to initiate, working memory, capacity planning, monitoring of the task, organization of material) and in behaviour (ability to control emotional, attention capacity (span), adaptive capacity and flexibility, self).
The project also aims to identify strategies and pathways to social and work through a structured network at the local level designed to test and enhance the real abilities of people with disabilities in terms of skills, learning, maturity, emotional / relational. To this end, it will be necessary also the implementation of an integrated network consisting of several public and private non-profit organizations to facilitate the insertion in different working environments.
The overall objective is to develop an integrated approach based on three main stages:
- Organization of pre-training courses (after the last year of secondary school), designed to analyze individual patterns of behaviour in order to define a custom path of guidance;
- Organization of training courses focused on soft skills and cross through innovative methods and success cases coming from the partners experiences, like the mountain-therapy.
- Organization of training sessions on the job in which students have the opportunity to be gradually engaged in the work context.
For the specific objectives AUTO is absolutely innovative in ‘faces four main challenges:
- The realization of methods of vocational guidance dedicated and specially designed for people with autism spectrum disorders
- The development of the necessary skills to individuals with ASD to stay in the labour market (self-esteem, awareness, teamwork, communication skills, etc.).
- The creation of a bridge between the rehabilitation and access / stay in the labour market
- The goal gold AUTO is to improve the quality of life (QoL) (cf. World Health Organisation- The First International Conference on Health Promotion, 21th november 1986) of people with autism spectrum disorders. Therefore, the assessment of QoL with specific instruments will be used as an indicator prevailing, long term, to measure the effectiveness of the paths.
The last aim is to design and organize an in-service training for the staff working with autistic adults: trainers, teachers, counsellors, psychologists. The course will last 2 weeks and will be organized in Italy- It will be articulated in modules, learning outcomes, according to the ECVET system. It will be designed in order to transfer to the target groups the skills and competences (contents and methodologies) related to the training of adults about consciousness and self-awareness. The course will be registered as an in-service training for staff in the related Grundtvig Database.
Methodology of implementation of the intervention
AUTO will be implemented through the following key activities:
- Research and sharing of best practices pre-formation / vocational training;
- Joint development of an innovative approach to integrated learning;
- Check innovative learning tools on the target group;
- Dissemination of results and best practices;
- Organization of a training facility for staff.
The methodology will be that of “training situation” that allows to prioritize growth in the emotional content in their relationship with themselves and with others. The ‘action is directed primarily towards a “learning to work” rather than working toward a real training.
The project provides an interactive methodology where do is alternate reflection with students on interpersonal skills and self-awareness work.