Centre for Autism
The Centre for Autism is a GO based in Zagreb which provides a range of educational, vocational and social services to individuals with autism, those with learning disabilities and their families across Croatia. The Centre for Autism is committed to meeting the needs of these individuals and their families, addressing their education, emotional and spiritual welfare and wellbeing.
Founded in 1981, its programmes include:
– a pre-school programme,
– an education programme for 7-15 year old students
– a holiday programme – including opportunities for young people to go to the countryside
– a sports club
– an adult day care programme, for 86 individuals
– a learning disability programme, for 94 individuals in education classes, day care and work settings
– accommodation, for 60 adults and 12 children
– in total 213 children and adults
The age range of services users is from three years to those in their fifties.
A range of therapists are based within Centre, which also provides crisis support and consultation services to families.
The Centre works closely with local communities, with local industry and with academic partners. For example, its adult housing programme has been developed in conjunction with the local neighbourhood residents’ organisation, with utility companies such as Croatian Electricity and Croatian Waste Water, and with the University of Zagreb. A cooperative company run by young people with autism is based there, producing ceramic, textiles and artworks which are then sold, developing the young people’s entrepreneurial talents. The Centre also produces an annual academic journal, ‘Autism’.
The Centre for Autism is the major GO in Croatia working with individuals with autism and their families. Over its 30+ year history it has developed close links with those developing policy and planning, with parent organisations within Croatia and with academic partners.
Also important is the work with mainstream schools. Some of CZA students visit twice per week mainstream school programmes like PE, Art and Music. Within CZA is an educated group of teachers that provide professional support for teachers who work with students with ASD in mainstream schools. This work is organized together with Education and Teacher Training Agency in Croatia.