The two-years Erasmus+ project IPA2 starting in 2019 aims at decreasing difficulties that students on the autism spectrum face, specifically during the transition from primary to secondary school, in order to tackle early school leaving and disadvantage. Funded by the European Commission, the outputs of this project target both teachers, and autistic students and their peers in order to implement prevention measures and reduce risks of social exclusion, school failure, and school dropout.

At school level, students on the autism spectrum have specific needs in different educational stages, since difficulties derived from the disorder itself are heightened by the demands at school. It is during the transition from primary to secondary school when the new school demands can produce more stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms in autistic students and, therefore, school failure or even school dropout. These facts show the need to introduce changes in the educational context.

In this sense, the ‘Inclusion of People with Autism in Europe. Improving scholar transitions from primary to secondary school’ project (IPA2) aims at decreasing school vulnerability of students on the autism spectrum in their transition from primary to secondary school.

The project will also improve relationships in school between autistic students and their peers and classmates, and provide teachers from primary and secondary schools with strategies to improve the academic performance of their autistic students, and to reduce their anxieties and stress related to school issues.

In order to achieve these objectives, IPA2 will develop and pilot an online training course, and a e-learning platform, for teachers developed by a co-created methodology involving end-users to identify their curricular and training requirements. In order to improve relationships between autistic students and their teachers and classmates, guidelines and videos will be also produced for a more inclusive, emphatic and supportive school environment.

The IPA2 project is complementary to the Erasmus+ project IPA+, that released in 2018 a reference point for training all professionals working with persons on the autism spectrum, independently of their area of knowledge. With IPA2, the partnership aims at keeping promoting an inclusive society for people on the autism spectrum with a co-creating approach by focusing on teachers and autistic pupils, their families and peers to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.

Six partners from five different countries come together in the IPA2 partnership, including the research institute Polibienestar (Spain); three autism NGOs founded by parents and/or professionals (Autismo Burgos from Spain, the Portuguese Federation for Autism (FPDA), and the Foundation A Thousand of Wishes- Fondacija hiljadu zelja– from Serbia); one technological company (Social IT from Italy), and the European umbrella organisation Autism-Europe, from Belgium.

About the Erasmus+ Programme

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Its budget of €14.7 billion will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain experience, and volunteer abroad.