During the first fortnight of October 2019, a hundred of special educators and rehabilitators both from special and mainstream schools from all across North Macedonia participated at the training sessions organized in Kisela Voda by the NGO Blue Firefly, and the special school D-r Zlatan Sremec, in order to get appropriate skills, knowledge, strategies, and locally-appropriate training resulting from the ASD-EAST project.
A first training session was held on October 8 and 9 for professionals working on special schools, and the second one, on October 14 and 15, was targeting professionals working on mainstream schools. Trainers in both sessions were ASD-EAST partners Anita Stojchevska (on the topic of Communication), Marija Deletikj (Social Skills), Biljana Kujundzic Nastevska (Developing Emotional Understanding), Jasmina Troshanska (Sensory needs and Challenging Behavior), and Ana Shikaleska (Adaptation).
Mayor of Kisela Voda Municipality Filip Temelkovski visited the first training session for and congratulated ASD-EAST partners for being part of the project and fostering inclusion of children on the autism spectrum in Skopje. The training aroused a great deal of interest within the Macedonian educational community and, although it was not planned to accommodate a large number of participants, a suitable venue was made available for the training (the Meeting Hall of the Municipality), and one more training session for all special education teachers from the special school D-r Zlatan Sremec is foreseeing on December 16 and 23 in the meeting room of the school.
Participants in the training were from all special schools in North Macedonia, special units in mainstream schools, and special educators that work as coordinators for children with special needs from mainstream schools. Interactions were long at the end of each day. There were a lot of questions and discussions around the inclusive process of students with autism as, since August 2019, there is new Law for Education that predicts the inclusion of all students with special needs in mainstream schools. Trainers got suggestions and ideas for future projects that will cover adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum in North Macedonia.
In parallel to these sessions, other pilot trainings have been running both in Zagreb (Croatia), and in Cracow (Poland) throughout October and November 2019. In total, more than 300 professionals from all across those countries had already benefit of the ASD-EAST training for teachers, evaluated its quality, and provided their feedback in order to get an improved final version of the training at the end of the project in 2020.