Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder that affects every individual to a different degree. It is a lifelong complex developmental disorder, characterized by impairments in social communication, social interaction and social imagination. Representing an estimated 7 million people, ASD is labeled as the fastest-growing disorder with an annual growth rate of 10-17%, according to the Autism Society. The condition impacts how a person perceives the world and interacts with others, making it difficult for them to pick up social cues and interpret them. Therefore, social interactions can be difficult as they can have difficulty ‘reading’ other people and expressing their own emotions. However, people with ASD are often very thorough in their work, punctual and rule observant. Despite that, the current employment data for individuals with ASD are not encouraging, as they suggest that they are less likely to work than all other disability groups. Many individuals with ASD, even those with the most severe challenges, express an interest in working . In fact, young adults with ASD report that finding a job would improve their lives more than anything else. When they have the dignity of gainful employment, they can contribute to essentials like housing, food, clothing and the supports and services needed in their lives. Therefore, people with ASD need instruction in developing soft skills focusing on one hand on skills involving job search skills and skills related to functional skills to survive and succeed in the labor sector (i.e. social and communication skills, building positive relationships and networking with colleagues, etc. The NEWork project is aming to design, test and publish an innovative training package for educators that will guide and support them to teach young adults with ASD the soft skills needed to enter and succeed in the workplace. Also, the consortium will deliver training courses to directly train young adults with ASD in a set of soft skills.
With NEWork project, partners expect to:
- increase educators’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in training young adults with autism on soft skills required to prepare them to enter and succeed in the labor sector.
- encourage the involvement of policymakers, training centres, independent bodies to promote dialogue regarding educating people with autism in soft skills required for better job opportunities and success.
- Acknowledge the benefits of European cooperation regarding experiences and practices in issues of common interest.
- Support improvements at ministries of education, accreditation bodies, decision-makers and policymakers on methodologies, pedagogical approaches and outputs that can enhance curriculum and policies towards the development of skills and competences of young adults with autism in search of a job or succeeding in the workplace.
Innovation Hive will be participating in all IO’s of the project, will be also responsible to organise the national multuplier event in Greece and will be responsible for the creation of the e-Learning platform (IO3) of the project as well as the development of the project website.