ASD-EAST Brussels Online Conference 2020

8th-28th June 2020



 Welcome to the ASD-EAST virtual conference

The conference promotes the products of an international collaboration through a co-funded Erasmus+ project. The focus of ASD-EAST is to empower specialist teachers in Croatia, Poland and the Republic of North Macedonia to support the effective inclusion of children with autism in education, by providing professionals with appropriate skills, knowledge, effective strategies and locally-appropriate training. It is in line with the objectives of Autism-Europe’s campaign: “I can learn. I can work”.

The conference will:

  1. Outline the teacher education curriculum and training materials developed by ASD-EAST
  2. Explore the mapping report
  3. Discuss the evaluation findings
  4. Present the projects’ recommendations for policy makers
  5. Provide information about the projects’ local partner trainings


Opening of the conference by Harald Neerland (President of Autism Europe, 4 min 6 sec, EN)


Message from Stelios Kympouropoulos (Member of the European Parliament, 3 min 55 sec)


Message from Miriam Dalli (Member of the European Parliament, 2 min 4 sec)




Introduction to the project (Dr David Preece, University of Northampton, 9 min 36 sec)

The ASD-EAST project was created based on the innitiative of local universities and organisations to improve autism training and enhance teachers’ competence and confidence in working with children with ASD.



ASD-EAST Identifying teachers’ training needs (Dr David Preece, University of Northampton, 10 min 7 sec)

To identify training needs of teachers we conducted a mapping of attitudes, knowledge and skills of specialist teachers working in primary mainstream and special schools in Croatia, North Macedonia and Poland.



ASD-EAST Curriculum and training materials (Dr Ivana Lessner Listiakova, University of Northampton, 8 min 35 sec)

We developed six training modules to meet the training needs of specialist teachers and to empower them in their roles. Modules focus on communication, emotional regulation, social skills, sensory needs, modifications and adjustments of teaching, and managing challenging behaviour.



ASD-EAST Evaluations findings (Dr Ivana Lessner Listiakova, University of Northampton, 8 min 7 sec)

Trainings for mainstream and special school teachers happened in all three countries. Thanks to feedback from teachers we evaluated the benefits of the training and made adjustments to the materials.



Teacher testimonials – What are my impressions of ASD-EAST training? (Biljana Sterjadovska-Stojcevska, 16 min 34 sec)

A special educator and rehabilitator, Montessori pedagogue, employed in a special school in the Republic of North Macedonia participated in the ASD-EAST training and reflects on her experience.


ASD_EAST Policy recommendations (3 min 18 sec)

Experience from the trainings and connected research lead to formulating policy recommdations that will lead to improving the lives of students with ASD accross Europe.






We acknowledge that children, parents and teachers are adjusting to these extraordinary times with great flexibility, learning new skills and supporting each other. Here are some ideas from the ASD-EAST project:


Setting up a workstation (Ron Fortuna, Target Autism, 11 min 33 sec)

Workstations are an effective, quick way to establish structure and routine for a student with autism in your classroom. In this video, Ron will demonstrate how to set up a simple work station. There are examples and ideas of work tasks and an explanation of how to implement a work system. Viewers should feel greater confidence in setting up a structured work area for their students as a result of watching this session. The video is suitable for staff working with children in both special and mainstream school settings.


Autism support ideas for the mainstream classroom (Ron Fortuna, Target Autism, 19 min 42 sec)

In this video, Ron shares some of his expertise gathered from years of experience in teaching students with autism and working as an advisor to schools. Teaching children with autism in a mainstream school setting can be both extremely rewarding and very challenging. A big difficulty is that many professionals struggle to see what their students with ASD struggle with and find it hard to know how to best support their needs. Ron will show many practical ideas that he has used in the classroom and suggested to teachers in a variety of educational settings. A wide range of issues will be explored, including a very brief mention of some adjustments that can be useful for particular sensory needs that pupils with autism may present with. With a range of ideas explored, viewers will hopefully gain confidence with approaches that they can implement with their students.


ASD-EAST Module 1: Simple Sign Language (Ron Fortuna, Target Autism, 3 min 5 sec)

This is an example of a practical exercise from Module 1: Communication. Practising some simple sign language signs.


ASD-EAST Module 1: Picture Exchange (Ron Fortuna, Target Autism, 5 min 39 sec)

This is another example of a practical exercise from Module 1: Communication. Explaining the first four stages of communication using picture exchanges.




Autism-Europe’s recommendation on promoting access to inclusive education (Aurélie Baranger, Autism Europe)

Sharing the results of AE survey on education conducted in 2019 and its ensuing recommendations for promoting access to inclusive education for learners on the autism spectrum.


Train ASD project (Christine Syriopoulou Delli, University of Macedonia, Greece, 17 min 45 sec)

Train-ASD (Vocational training on Communication and Teaching Approaches in Autism Spectrum Disorders) aims in the creation of a European -level strategic partnership and know-how exchange network for vocational training of professionals in the field of autism in order to support autistic children and individuals through training, education and familiarization of professionals on alternative systems of communication.

This will be achieved through:

  • developing teachers’ skills on systematic observation of autistic children / children on the autism spectrum
  • training teachers on alternative communication systems (PECS, TEACCH, Makaton)
  • training teachers on managing behaviour difficulties through techniques such as, the circle of friends, social stories etc.
  • enabling teachers to become creators of the National Curriculum
  • enabling teachers to support parents and to develop teachers-parents collaboration




Round-table discussions (Closed session)

Round-table discussions with national educational decision-makers, policy-makers, and other key stakeholders are happening online throughout the conference duration. The purpose of discussions is to identify ways that teacher education in autism can be embedded and promoted within the country.








  • Thinking Books that supply Social Thinking resources amongst others (You are a Social Detective and Social Behaviour Mapping from module 3 for mainstream schools)



  • Diary of a painfully shy introvert – One woman’s perspective on the Autistic Spectrum, mental illness and everything else…



Conference discussion in English is open during the whole duration of the conference (8-28 June)

Please post your comments and questions. It will help us if you identify your role and the type of setting where you work and the country you are from, e.g. teacher in a special school in Belgium. Conference moderators will reply to the comments at least once a week.

After the conference, the option to add comments will be closed but the information posted will remain available.



Feedback and certificates

Please fill in the evaluation form. Your feedback matters to us and improves the quality of teacher trainings (3-5 min). You will be able to download certificate of attendance after you have completed the evaluation form.


You can follow the agenda and click on each presentation individually or you can view these two conference playlists: