The second parent training sessions have been delivered in the Autism Assessment Support Practice Centre (AASP) in Limassol, Cyprus, in October 2016 as part of the Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting project (ESIPP), co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. 20 participants attended the sessions given by both local and ESIPP trainers from Croatia. The first part of the training, which facilitates a positive approach to autism as well as helping to manage challenging behaviour, took place in March 2016.
On day 1, a Q & A session for parents was provided as an ‘add on’ to the training modules, allowing them to come up with written questions on issues they were seeking answers to. Many parents took the opportunity to ask specific questions about their own children, some of which provided answers for many more in ‘the audience’, and presented new challenges and focused the thinking of autism practitioners.
ESIPP partner from Cyprus Angela Winstanley and Nefi Charalambous-Darden delivered modules the first day of the training and encouraged parents to see sustainability of the project when it ends. Stalo Gerolemou was the home trainer who co-deliver this first session. “We do indeed have some excellent and very competent trainee Trainers – so we are experiencing and getting reassurance about the development of the ESIPP project training for future generations of Trainers – our work will therefore continue”, affirmed Winstanley.
On day 2, project coordinator David Preece explained to parents how visual supports can be used to help teenagers with autism. Then, Charalambous-Darden, Gerolemou and Winstanley delivered the second part of the Core Training, a 2-3 hour modules, regarding sensory, communication and social development /interaction, each of which are huge subjects in their own right.
Winstanley constanted that “in Cyprus we had also the opportunity to engage with parents on some ‘non-core’ modules, which were very well attended, and suggests that parents want ‘even more’ inclusion in the wider training programme, and are keen to explore key issues with us. We included topics such as adolescence and sexuality, eating, and sleeping as ‘extras’ – which were very well attended by parents and professionals.”
ESIPP partners foresee a minimum of 18 courses which will be run during the lifetime of the project – 6 courses each in Croatia, Cyprus and the FYR of Macedonia. Together with this session in Cyprus, two other sessions were also delivered to groups of 20 participants per session. In Skopje, FYR of Macedonia, it was delivered from the 29 September to the 3 October and ESIPP trainers Angela Capper and Ron Fortuna from Target Autism travelling from UK to support local educators. In Zagreb, Croatia, on November 9-13 Charalambous-Darden and Winstanley from AASP will coach Croatian special need teachers.