Given the unique needs of autistic pupils and with rising numbers of children and young people being diagnosed on the autism spectrum, there is a pressing need to increase the awareness, knowledge, and skills of the school work force and to improve the capacity of settings to meet the needs of autistic children.
To gather a community of researchers, policy makers and practitioners in the UK, Italy, and Greece to research current educational practices in autism in those respective contexts and to create professional development programmes in Greece and Italy.
The project promotes equity and inclusion in autism education by enhancing the skills, knowledge and understanding of education and health practitioners who work with autistic children aged between 5 and 10. This builds on the ground-breaking AET schools programme in England. The AET programme was funded by the Department of Education (UK), commissioned by the AET, with the content developed by ACER, and the design of the materials undertaken by Genium. It consists of quality indicators describing the key factors common to current good practice in settings, three levels of training materials in autism education and a Competency Framework for practitioners. The programme has now been delivered to over 130,000 staff in schools, colleges and early-years settings.
The TAE project ends in August 2017, and ACER is currently working on funding bids to extend the model and methodology of TAE to other countries, with the Greek and Italian colleagues working on developing sustainability strategies for their local contexts. This will extend the Communities of Practice (CoP) model developed in the project to build a network of international partners working together to transform conceptualisations of autism (through the development of a training programmes) and provide guidance for policy and practice (through the development of national standards and competencies).
Dr Karen Guldberg (Principal Investigator)
Rebecca Wood (Project Manager)