The first Transnational Meeting for the Young Mediators for Inclusion (YMI) project took place from the 27th – 28th January, 2020. Project partners from Spain, Greece, Italy and Belgium travelled to Portugal to meet and discuss. YMI’s main objective is to develop “mediator for inclusion” courses for young university students and community staff members and at a later date, a European guide in order to foster the social inclusion of children and young people on the autism spectrum.
Many children and young people on the autism spectrum face exclusion in society. Activities which promote the full inclusion of autistic children on equal terms with their peers are rare as most programs and activities that are developed are addressed only to autistic children in segregated groups and require the accompaniment of therapists.
The young mediators for inclusion project aims to foster social inclusion through promoting the participation of autistic children and young people in activities developed by community structures. In the framework of this project, an innovative pilot methodology will be created and tested with young mediators to ensure the inclusion of autistic youngsters in regular community structures such as sports clubs and cultural and recreational associations. The pilot methodology will result in the creation of a European guide which aims to gather and further disseminate best practices on this particular field.
The kick-off meeting, hosted by Inovar Autismo – Association of Citizenship was attended by 14 people and aimed to share understanding of the purpose of the project as well as to ensure the project’s viability and success.
Different issues such as the initiative’s main objectives, the modalities of the programme development, dissemination and coordination aspects were addressed during this meeting. At this initial stage, partners are undertaking a literature review to identify the critical factors needed to ensure the successful inclusion of people on the autism spectrum.