We are now coming up to the second Christmas of the ASD-EAST project, and it’s hard to believe that the project is only fifteen months old. And also hard to believe that there are less than nine months to go!
The partnership has worked together brilliantly, and has achieved an amazing amount over the time we have been together. The initial mapping study gathered the perspectives of hundreds of teachers working to support learners with autism from across Croatia, North Macedonia and Poland, in addition to reviewing the literature from across the world regarding teacher education in autism. This study informed the development of our teacher education curriculum. The curriculum was then used by the partners to develop the training materials. All the partners were involved in putting these materials together, and in translating them into the project languages.
Earlier in the year, members of the ESIPP team have presented about the project at a number of conferences, both national and international. A highlight of this was the opportunity to showcase the project at Autism Europe’s International Congress in Nice, France, where over 2,200 professionals, researchers, family members and autistic individuals were gathered to learn from each other. Three journal articles have been written regarding ASD-EAST, and we hope that they will navigate the peer review process successfully.
More recently, the training teams in Croatia, North Macedonia and Poland have been working hard putting the materials into practice, delivering training to over 200 primary school teachers from mainstream and special school settings. The evaluation team has also been surveying these teachers about their experience of training and what they have learned; and further surveys and interviews will take place in the New Year.
It is great to take time at Christmas to both reflect on what we have achieved together, and to look forward to what remains to be done. We have been well supported throughout by our international reference group, which has met twice to discuss our work, and to offer their advice regarding our next steps; thank you all! The next meeting of the whole project team will take place in Skopje in March, linked to our first project stakeholder conference. Between now and then we have much to do – data to collect and analyse, materials to update – as well, of course, as carrying on with our ‘proper jobs’. Nonetheless, I hope that everyone involved in the project – and everyone following its progress in our newsletters – is able to find time to relax and enjoy the company of their loved ones over Christmas and New Year.
Sretan Božić i Nova Godina!
Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année !
¡Feliz Navidad y próspero Año Nuevo!
Cреќен Божиќ и Среќна Нова Година!
Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!
Veselé Vianoce a šťastný nový rok!