Preece, D., Troshanska, J., Lisak Šegota, N., Lessner Lištiaková, I.  & Petkovska Nikolovska, A. (2020) Autism Spectrum Disorder – Empowering and Supporting Teachers (ASD-EAST): developing teacher education about ASD for primary teachers. 100 Jubilee of Faculty of Philosophy, University of Ss Cyril & Methodius, Republic of North Macedonia, Struga, Republic of North Macedonia, 2-5 September 2020.

Abstract. Effective education is a crucial intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and it is vital that teachers are confident and appropriately skilled. However, a significant shortfall has been identified regarding teacher confidence and skills, both globally and more specifically regarding Central/Eastern Europe and the Balkans. To begin to address this shortfall, a two-year multinational project was established to develop, deliver and evaluate teacher education in ASD in three countries: Croatia, Poland and the Republic of North Macedonia. Following extensive scoping, a 12-hour training programme was developed and delivered to 259 mainstream and special school teachers across these countries. The programme was evaluated using both quantitative and qualitative methods. This paper describes and discusses the project and presents findings regarding the Republic of North Macedonia. Problems regarding knowledge and confidence are discussed, and benefits of the ASD-EAST programme are identified. It is argued that effective, ongoing teacher education must be provided to ensure aspirations and policy decisions regarding educational inclusion are realistic, and so that teachers may have the knowledge, skills and confidence to turn rhetoric intro reality.

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