A new training model for professionals working in the field of autism. Main results of the IPA+ Project
IPA+ (Inclusion of people with autism in Europe. Towards a specialized training model for professionals) is a project funded under the Erasmus+ Programme (ref: 2016-1-ES01-KA204-025061) aimed to develop a training for all professionals working with people with autism independently of the area of knowledge. In the framework of this project we have developed and created several materials and resources useful for professionals working in the field of autism.
1. The first step of the project was to perform a study of curricular needs of professionals working on autism. The output of this study is a complete report based on the results obtained through a literature review and several focus groups, but here you can find a summary of the study performed in terms of methodology used and main results obtained. This output has been essential to perform the subsequent steps of the project as it contains the main pillars to develop IPA+ curriculum, learning modules and the whole training.
2. Two new Curricula for professionals working in the field of autism:
- Level I Curriculum has an introductory approach to autism and is addressed to professionals without experience in the field or students interested in working with autistic people in the near future.
- Level II Curriculum has a deeper approach and is for those professionals with a previous background and experience with autistic people but that they want to strength skills and gain new and updated knowledge.
These curriculums were validated taking into consideration the expert opinion of external stakeholders through a Delphi study. This output includes curricular specific and transversal objectives as well as contents to being addressed by each training level.
3. The IPA+ Toolkit as an online and open-access platform with a repository of contents and materials aimed at entities outside the project partnership can implement and put into practice independently the curriculum, learning materials and training developed within the project (www.ipa-project.eu). The most relevant sections of the toolkit are:
- Training: list of learning modules and their main subjects presented separately by each training (Level I and II). It is included: main contents; learning objectives; a list of resources; description of the evaluation method; learning guides and PPTs to be downloaded.
- FAQ and guidelines: information aimed to help those professionals who are interested in implementing successfully the IPA+ training in an autonomous and independent way.
- Lessons learned: relevant highlights to be taken into consideration by those who aim at launching these courses in their own professional context.
Contents and materials of the Toolkit are available in several languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Serbian and French.