The IPA2 project works to decrease 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 a 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 symptoms of anxiety and depression in autistic students. In many cases, the new school demands and the resulting challenges can cause low academic performance and early school leaving, as well as other severe consequences such as social isolation (or exclusion) and even bullying. This demonstrates the need to introduce changes in an educational context.
In this sense, the IPA2 project 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.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- To decrease early school leaving in students on the autism spectrum
- To improve relationships in school between autistic students and their peers and classmates.
- To train teachers from primary and secondary schools working with people on the autism spectrum in order to provide them with strategies which will improve their academic performance and to reduce their anxiety/stress symptoms associated with scholar issues.
- To learn from the experiences of families of autistic people in order to develop tailored materials and training.
- To promote self-defence strategies in people with autism to help them to deal with scholar issues..
IPA2 is focused on developing and implementing a training course for teachers from primary and secondary schools. The course will be made up of several learning modules, which will be developed by a co-created methodology in order to identify and validate the curricular and training requirements. The school vulnerability of autistic learners during this particular transition will be also tackled by developing guidelines for teachers and video guidelines for students so that they can learn how to interact with autistic pupils, helping them to face school demands. All the materials and products created under this project will be hosted in the e-learning IPA2 platform.
- Design curricular contents and requirements addressed to primary and secondary school teachers.
- Conduct a training with 60 teachers and professionals working in the education field in order to test the developed curricular contents.
- Create guidelines and videos addressed to students and teachers to improve their relational capacity with autistic people from a more inclusive, empathetic and supportive perspective.
- Develop an e-learning platform in order to host all the materials created during the project.