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.

Ivana Sladić Kljajić Sladić Kljajić

Ivana Sladić Kljajić works as a psychologist at the Center for Autism Zagreb for the last 15 years. She is specialized in teaching and supporting children with autism and intellectual disabilities and works with pupils with ASD on a one-to-one basis. Her job consists of an assessment of pupils, cooperation with special education teachers and therapists, participation in creating individualized educational plans and evaluation of the pupils’ progress over time. She does parents and families counseling and creates/leads workshops for employees, as well as for pupils’ neurotipically developing siblings. As a member of the Mobile Team, she provides support for pupils with autism, their parents and teachers in mainstream schools.

She was an associate in ERASMUS+ project „Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting”.

Her fields of interest are challenging behaviours, mental health, communication and social skills of people with ASD.

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Ana Ružić
Ana Ružić is a special education needs teacher. She works in Centre for Autism for 18 years. She has been working for 5 years with adults with ASD in workshops and she has certificate for Coordinator of Supported Employment. Last 13 years she works in the school program for students with ASD. Her work is based on ABA and TEACCH principles. Except the teaching, she advises parents how to deal with challenging behaviours, daily living skills, communication and socialization. She is a member of Mobile Expert Team whose activities are based on advising teachers and expert assistance in mainstream schools who are working with students with ASD. She also finished education about Structured TEACCH*ing for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and has a certificate of Marte Meo approach. She was a member of the ERASMUS+ project „Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting”.


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