On World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), partners of the ETTECEC project from Slovenia join Autism-Europe in “breaking through paper” to raise awareness of the objectives of the second phase of the European campaign “Break barriers together fort autism – Let’s build an accessible society”.

To illustrate the necessity to “Break Barriers Together for Autism”, ETTECEC partners shared pictures of themselves holding banners to show some of the barriers that the ETTECEC project aims to overcome, such us lack of understanding, segregation of autistic children in “special schools”, lack of specific training for teachers, lack of inclusive education, disregarding the diversity of the autism spectrum or pseudoscientific approaches to autism.

Recent studies suggest autism affects approximately one per cent of Europeans, which represents over five million people in the EU. Autism is often referred to as an invisible disability, because people can often be unaware that a person is autistic.

On World Autism Awareness Day 2018, Autism-Europe was therefore calling on people to join them in bringing home the message that it is crucial to break down barriers to accessibility for people on the autism spectrum. Engaging with autistic people and hearing their experiences is key to understanding the many daily hurdles faced by the autism community, and it is only by working together that we can remove them, and foster a society in which everyone is included.

In 2018, the issue of accessibility for persons with disabilities is high on the EU agenda. The European Accessibility Act, proposed by the European Commission, is currently in the trilogue stage of the EU decision-making process, meaning we are approaching the moment at which the Act’s final form will be decided.

Autism-Europe has been actively voicing the needs of autistic people and their families since the initial stage of the elaboration of the Act. This year is a crucial time to bring to the forefront the access needs of people with autism, and to make decision-makers understand how they can improve the lives of the EU’s 5 million autistic citizens.

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