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Today is World Autism Awareness Day, and Autism-Europe is launching a two-year awareness-raising campaign “I can learn, I can work”, to inform and raise awareness about how to promote access to education and employment for people on the autism spectrum.

Autism-Europe is also glad to announce the winner of its competition “I can work”, a Belgian initiative called  “Solidarity Constellation“.

The campaign “I can learn, I can work” is articulated around two key themes that are central for the social inclusion of autistic people at various stages of their lives: access to education and employment.

One of the objectives is to promote access to quality inclusive education (including to university and vocational training) for autistic people and tackling the barriers they face across Europe. The other objective is to foster positive initiatives related to the employment of autistic people and to call for the implementation of the EU anti-discrimination legislation in the field of employment. Indeed, it is estimated that across the European Union less than 10% of people on the autism spectrum are employed mostly in low-paid jobs or in sheltered settings. Awareness-raising actions and advocacy activities will be conducted at the EU-level and at the national level under the banner of the campaign.

The campaign takes place at a critical time, as the EU is currently discussing the future EU Disability Strategy 2020- 2030, for which AE is advocating. The coming years will also see the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights that states that ‘everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market’.  It is therefore a key opportunity to make our voice heard.

View our campaign video

How you can support the campaign

  • Find a tool that represents one of your skills;
  • Make a video/ GIF of yourself holding the tool (and maybe using it);
  • OR take a picture of yourself holding the tool (and maybe using it);
  • Share it on social media using the #AutismDay2020 hashtag.

*Alternatively, you can just take a picture of yourself holding the visual of the campaign.

Belgian initiative “Solidarity Constellation” wins AE competition “I can work”

The employment project that won the most votes is entitled “Constellation solidaire“. The project aims to set-up an interoperable internet platform which will allow exchanges and cooperation between all the actors involved in the professional inclusion of autistic people. This platform will make full use of artificial intelligence techniques.

Nearly 3 years of action-research have made it possible to establish a structured and extensive survey of the remarkable abilities (cognitive, psycho-behavioural and social skills) of autistic people. Taking into account those aptitudes, as well as their limitations, the platform would suggest tailored job-offers that could correspond to the specific profiles of autistic people. The aim is also to make private and public employers aware of this “pool” of specific skills.

Constellation solidaire is a private initiative of François Bodart, Prof. Emeritus of UNamur where he created the Faculty of Computer Science in 1970 who has personal links to autism, and of Sarah Godfroid who is autistic and has 3 autistic children, she is a nursery school teacher by training, administrator at APEPA asbl. The project benefits from the expertise in artificial intelligence of Laurent Philippe, Doctor of Science. The promoters of the project are currently looking for funding to support the launch of the platform.

Contact the laureates:

Prof. François Bodart:  francois.bodart@unamur.be

APEPA asbl – Sarah Godfroid:  sarahgodfroid@hotmail.com

Alice Suls:  apepa@skynet.be

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