From February 24 to March 25, 2021 thirteen young mediators participated in YMI’s first online training course in Burgos Spain.
The training course aims to empower and train young mediators for inclusion to promote the participation of autistic children and young people in activities developed by community structures.
Participants of the course came from a variety of different backgrounds including pedagogy, early childhood education, social integration, sociocultural animation, special education, and work experiences with people on the spectrum. Trainings and meetings were delivered virtually through the educational platform aula.autismoburgos.es.
Each week, the course consisted of 2-hour live sessions to present the modules, 1 hour follow- up sessions and 2 hours of personal work. All sessions were held twice, in the morning and in the afternoon. The course had two main professional trainers and one reserve trainer.
Two focus groups also took place at the beginning of the course and again at the end of the course. During the initial focus group, participants were asked to share their knowledge, thoughts and values regarding the inclusion of autistic people. The second focus group allowed participants to reflect on what they had learned and discuss how they would implement their learnings in the real world.
The live sessions promoted the active participation of students and included an open round of interventions and questions. Contents of the course were divided in 5 modules and each module included supplementary learning materials such as articles, documents, links to videos and self-evaluation activities.
Preliminary course impressions report high motivation for learning, generalized prior training and knowledge about autism, active participation encouraged by small groups and high awareness of the need for the social inclusion of people with autism.
Testimonials from participants
“If we learn to listen about how to address people and how to support them in their life processes, then we can take steps to act as mediators and sensitize the rest of society on the importance of full inclusion in improving the quality of life of everybody”.
“With this course I understand much better the whole concept of autism, how to intervene and how to understand these people, both to work with them and to relate in a healthier way”.
“I started this course being very negative and I have come out of it much more positive”.
“You can always improve and each time people are making society more inclusive”.
“The mediator is there to support the person in the development of their life plans”.