Around 150 parents, professionals, students, policy-makers, journalists and other stakeholders attended the third multiplier event “ Helping parents to support their children with autism”, held on November 1 in the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle in Skopje, in the framework of the European project “Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting” (ESIPP).
Hosted by the Macedonian Scientific Society for Autism (MSSA), the conference raised awareness about the importance of parent education in autism and shared the work and expertise of the project partners to a wider audience. The ESIPP Parent Education Programme, developed in collaboration with partners from across Europe, was also introduced.
One of the most stirring moments of the day was the speech given by Zoran Giev, parent of a child with autism and participant on one of the ESIPP parent training sessions delivered in Skopje. Giev talked about early diagnosis, education and the lack of information, support and understanding as being among the greatest problems faced by parents of children with autism in the FYR of Macedonia. He also stressed the importance of raising awareness and being truly supported by the community in order to foster the inclusion of autistic people.
Furthermore, attendees took part in the workshops “Managing Sensory Sensitivities in Autism” and “Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour”, given by ESIPP partners from Target Autism (UK), MSSA and the Autism Assessment Support Practice Center (Cyprus).
Prior to this one-day conference, Zoran Giev and ESIPP partners from MSSA and the University of Northampton had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with Lidija Krstevska Dojchonovska, State advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister of the FYR of Macedonia, as well as a representative from the Ministry of Education, Mirjana Zlatanova, and from the Ministry of Science, Emilija Jovanovska. A discussion was held to highlight the importance of continuing to provide ESIPP training after the project’s completion, and how to ensure its sustainability.
The conference was largely covered by local and national media.
On the occasion of this one-day event, the seventh transnational meeting was also held, hosted by the MSSA and held at the St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. During the meeting, ESIPP partners 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 Skopje and preparations for the following conference in Limassol (Cyprus) in March 2018.