In five poviats in the Kutno region, 141 children aged 4-12, and 49 young people aged 13-19 (according to figures we collected in government authorities) have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The project addresses the need for access to therapy services for this group and the problem of low awareness of ASD in the local community. These are particularly relevant given the increasing number of children with ASD and the growing interest in the self-advocacy movement. These needs are confirmed by our interviews with 40 parents of children with ASD.
Under the project, a self-advocacy movement will be created and expanded in the Kutno region.
We will provide training in practical community skills for three groups of children with ASD (aged 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12). For two older groups (12-15 and 16 – until school leaving age), we propose activities within the Informed Youth Club (Klub Świadomej Młodzieży): seven self-development workshops, five meetings with active self-advocates who operate in other cities, four meetings with representatives of local government authorities or public institutions, three field trips to locations created by self-advocates, and 44 meetings (discussions, workshops to develop interests and practical skills). We will provide psychological counselling for members of the Klub, and their carers, and invite parents to five meetings with a self-advocate movement activist. We will also train a team of employees (12 people) in self-advocacy. We will summarize the measures at a conference to which the media will be invited.
The project will provide support for 18 young people with ASD and 12 carers. We will provide coaching for six self-advocates to ready them for action. Carers and a minimum of 50 attendees of the conference will develop their knowledge of self-advocacy and methods of providing support for children.