The city of Rijeka was the scenario of the fourth training sessions delivered in Croatia in the framework of the of the Equity and Social Inclusion through Positive Parenting project (ESIPP), co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. On June 9th and 10th, a group of parents of children with autism participated in this event, entitled “Positive approaches to autism”.
During this two-day training, ESIPP partners Ivanka Pejić and Ana Radović from Centar za Autizam Rijeka delivered the six modules making up the ESIPP Parent Education Programme (PEP), which aims at developing and disseminating a training programme for parents of children with autism living in South-eastern Europe.
Each module of the PEP is designed to increase parents’ knowledge, building upon the information learned in previous modules and extending it further. The content of the modules promotes the use of positive strategies, and is based around the following topics: an introduction to autism spectrum conditions, behaviour, the use of visual structures, sensory issues, communication challenges and the building of social skills. In addition, three non-core modules were added to meet requests for information on issues linked to puberty, and on sleeping and eating issues. These were added following requests from parents on the initial feedback forms filled in during the first round of training.
In order to deliver this training successfully, ESIPP trainers had to adapt the Communication and Social Skills modules since most part of the participants were parents of pre-school children.
Parents participated actively in the workshops by producing materials and exchanging experience in a leisurely atmosphere. They were very attentive and talkative, and sought advice on PECS.
For them, the most important things were the experience exchange and the explanation of visual support systems through practical examples. Parents praised expertise of the trainers and showed their satisfaction at the end of the sessions.
Centar za Autizam announced that two more ESIPP parent training will be delivered the Croatian cities of Osijek and Split in the near future.