ASD-EAST designs its training curriculum at the second project meeting in Northampton

The Centre for Education and Research (CER) hosted a transnational project meeting of the ASD-EAST Erasmus+ partnership 14th-16th January 2019 at the University of Northampton Waterside Campus. Partners from universities, international organisations, special and inclusive schools, and local autism organisations from Croatia, Republic of North Macedonia, Poland, Belgium and the UK met to discuss the progress of the project. The partnership consists of experts in the field who shared their knowledge about teacher training opportunities and needs in their countries.

Mapping survey and focus groups conducted in November and December 2018 revealed the current level of knowledge and indicated a lack of teachers’ training in using effective strategies for autistic students. Specialist teachers were interested in practical hands-on training available locally. The ASD-EAST team collaborated on designing the content of teacher training curriculum focused on understanding and teaching children on the autism spectrum. The core curriculum will be differentiated to meet the needs of specialist teachers in special and mainstream school. Local context will be considered in developing the training materials. Researchers on the team are also aiming to collect data to evaluate the training’s and the created materials.

The second transnational project meeting of this consortium contributed to cross-cultural exchange and sharing of professional expertise and ideas. Part of the meeting consisted of discussions about visual identity and the website of the project. Partners learned about using social media to promote effectively promote and disseminate the project. Individual upskilling continued also in the project administration sessions which were helpful especially to organisations without previous experience in European projects. The friendly atmosphere and collaborative attitudes were extended to working with the local community of teachers in Northampton as the project team visited the Northampton International Academy and the Headlands Primary School. The visitors were interested in the inclusive nature and specialists provisions of the schools, tailored to the needs of students from diverse cultural and language backgrounds and students with special educational needs and disabilities including autism.

The project partnership will meet again in July in Zagreb, Croatia to discuss further steps in the implementation of the created teacher training programmes.

Dr Ivana Lessner Listiakova
University of Northampton

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