Troshanska, J., Petkovska Nikolovska, A., Lessner Lištiaková, I., Stošić, J., Lisak, N., Kossewska, J., Cierpiałowska, T., Bombińska-Domżał, A., Lubińska-Kościółek, E., Niemiec, S., Płoszaj, M. & Preece, D. (2019) Developing training for teachers to support the inclusion in education of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Proceedings of the conference ‘70 Years: Organized Education, Rehabilitation and Employment of People with Disability in the Republic of North Macedonia’.Conference organised by the Union of Special Educators and Rehabilitators of the Republic of North Macedonia. 16-18 May 2019, Bitola, Republic of North Macedonia. Pp 53-58.

Abstract. Introduction: Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder, impacting approximately 1% of the population. Education has been identified as a key intervention for such children. However, due to the wide spectrum of autism, no single educational approach is appropriate for all, and teachers need a range of skills and strategies. Providing such education is challenging across Europe, and particularly so in Central/Eastern Europe and the Balkans, where previous research has identified a shortfall in training. Methodology: This overall project is being carried out utilising a collaborative, action-based and stakeholder-empowering methodology, and is being undertaken in fouroverlapping phases. The training materials and the training process will be evaluated using a combined process and outcome evaluation methodology (Royse et al., 2016). This will include the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Results/Activity to date: Project activity to date has focused on the mapping the ‘state of the art’ regarding existing models and practice regarding teacher education in ASD, as well as identifying the current knowledge, attitudes and training needs of teachers. Academics from the University of Northampton in the UK, the lead partner in the ASDEAST project, have reviewed the literature regarding teacher education in ASD generally, while partners from Croatia, North Macedonia and Poland have led on reviewing local policy and practice on this topic. Conclusions: Initial analysis of the mapping activity has demonstrated that teachers across all three countries lack knowledge about intervention and educational methods in autism, and that they have a strong desire for training regarding practical strategies that are applicable to their work settings. This identifies the value of the project and suggeststhat such training could bring about positive change for teachers and learners alike.

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