The one-day conference “Empowering parents of children with autism spectrum disorders”, held in the framework of the European project “Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting” (ESIPP), raises awareness about the importance of parent education in autism and shares the work and expertise of the project partners to a wider audience.
On March 13, more than 100 parents, professionals, academics, decision makers and other stakeholders gathered in Zagreb to learn more about education for parents of children with autism in Croatia, Cyprus and the FYR of Macedonia. Hosted by the Centar za Autizam (Croatia), the conference was organised in partnership with the Faculty of Education – Rehabilitation Sciences University of Zagreb. The ESIPP Parent Education Programme, developed in collaboration with partners from across Europe, was introduced as well.
Furthermore, attendees took part in the workshops “Sensory sensitivity – support strategies” and “Undesirable behavior – understanding and practical strategies”, given by ESIPP partners from Target Autism (UK) and the Autism Assessment Support Practice Center (Cyprus).
In the framework of this event, a roundtable discussion was held to highlight the importance of providing ESIPP training after the project completion and how to ensure its sustainability. Discussions were led by:
- Croatian policy makers: Member of the Croatian Parliament Ljubica Lukačić, Senior Advisor at the Ministry of Health Marijana Pavlić, Associate City Office for Social Welfare and Persons with Disabilities Lada Žamarija, Senior Advisor Agency for Education and Teacher Training Directorate for Preschool and Primary Education Mara Capar and Expert Advisor in Programmes for Students with Developmental Problems/Difficulties for the City of Zagreb Ksenija Pick;
- President of the Croatian Society for Autism Lidija Penko;
- Vanja Nikolić from UNICEF;
- members of Centar za Autizam (Director Žarka Klopotan, Head of preschool and elementary programmes Ivane Stojak, employee Matee Begić and parent and member of the Executive Committee Jelka Hero);
- ESIPP project coordinators David Preece and Paul Bramble from the University of Northampton (UK);
- ESIPP partners from the Faculty of Education – Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Zagreb Jasmina Stošić and Jasmina Frey Škrinjar.
On the occasion of these events, the fifth transnational meeting was also held, hosted by the Faculty of Education – Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Zagreb, running until March 17. ESIPP partners have worked in groups on various subjects related to the project: development of training materials, dissemination, sustainability, evaluation, impact of the project, review of the conference in Zagreb and preparations for the following conference in Northampton in June 2017.