On the 19 June 2018, 12 partners of the ETTECEC project from 4 different countries met in Ljubljana for their second international meeting hosted by the Educational Research Institute (Pedagoški inštitut). On the agenda: observations on conditions for autistic children in selected pre-schools throughout the partner countries, and preparations for a training course for teachers.
The meeting was both an occasion for partners to provide feedback on observations from study visits they had conducted in schools within their own countries, to gage what the common challenges are that teachers face, and to begin devising the structure of a training course for pre-school teachers. The project focuses on offering education and training for pre-school teachers to foster better inclusion of children on the autism spectrum.
Partners’ study visits showed that there were mixed observations from preschools in Spain, Slovenia and the Czech Republic with regards to the inclusion of autistic children and the ability to cater to their specific needs. While some schools allowed for better structures for support and classroom settings and spaces to help cater to the autistic child’s sensory needs, there were still many observations of overstimulating, inflexible and understaffed settings.
Reoccurring feedback from teachers throughout the three countries was that there is insufficient material for them to handle these situations, difficulties in relaying their concerns to families, the fact that teachers are not trained to deal with the needs of autistic children or indeed how to recognise the signs of autism.
Going forward, these are all issues that project partners will look to address through the creation of a training course for pre-school teachers, to better equip them for inclusive educational classes with autistic pupils.