With a population of 858,000. About 20% of residents are non-nationals (EU-citizens and third party nationals). The economy is largely based around the service sector, and the country – like many others – is currently facing an economic crisis.
Parent training on autism in Cyprus is very limited. The Ministry of Education and Culture provides autism awareness seminars on an occasional basis. The Department of Education Sciences of the European University Cyprus who is the Cypriot University partner in the ESIPP project has an established tradition in Inclusive Education. Together with the relevant MA Degree, it offers seminars and workshops open to educators and other interested parties and parents, in relation to the education of children with disabilities, including autism. The faculty is also involved in a number of relevant research projects.
One-day seminars on autism awareness are also provided by the Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol. Though run as part of the university curriculum, these are open to others to attend.
The Association for People with Autism Cyprus (a parent-led, government-supported organisation) runs day centres in Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos, and holds occasional seminars on specific subjects: however, these are ad hoc events and there is no comprehensive or established programme.
The Autism Assessment Support Practice (AASP) Centre in Limassol (also a partner in the ESIPP project) has provided parent training based on the UK National Autistic Society’s EarlyBird programme.
Mazi4Autism is a non-profit association formed by parents of children on the autism spectrum in 2012. It organises annual conferences and seminars for parents in Nicosia. There are a number of other parent groups, often linked to schools, which provide mutual support, but no specific direction regarding training.
Finally, private initiatives are sporadically available to parents, providing training about assistive technologies and structured approaches such as PECS, ABA and the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-handicapped Children) approach.