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Магията да общуваш
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Jan 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The number of young people with autism in Europe is constantly increasing. Each autistic youngster has a unique personality. It is necessary to work with each person on an individual program suited to his/her specific problems and needs, in order to have a chance for normal development and successful integration into the educational system and society. Unfortunately, in the rural areas of Eastern Europe, youth workers often continue to work with autistic youngsters using outdated methodologies. The main reasons for this are the relatively limited access to quality information on the latest working methods and lack of international interaction and exchange between organisations involved in this mission. In response to these problems, YMDRAB in partnership with associations of speech and language therapists from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania implemented the project "The magic to communicate". Its main aim is to improve the quality of work of youth workers who are engaged in non-formal education of young people with autism in the rural areas of Eastern Europe, through their training and development of their cooperation for innovation and exchange of experience, skills and best practices. The main project activity was an international training course. It was held from 31.07.2015 to 09.08.2015 in Kranevo, Bulgaria. The training brought together 50 youth workers and experts from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria. The participants are speech therapists, youth advisors, social workers, psychologists, project managers and volunteers who are engaged in activities supporting the socio-educational and personal development of rural young people with autism in their countries. The training was conducted by an international team of trainers – we had one trainer from each country included. The activities were entirely based on the methods of non-formal education, including: presentations, mixed working groups, practical exercises, role plays, group discussions, field visits and others. Through these activities, the participants learnt about the essence and applicability of the latest methods for non-formal education and systems for work with autistic youngsters used in different countries. They exchanged ideas, experiences and good practices and acquired practical skills for encouraging inclusion of young people with autism into the educational system and labor market. During the training course, the youth workers developed new professional contacts that will be used for future cooperation in order to innovate and improve the quality of services for autistic youngsters. An important part of the training was presenting the opportunities offered by the "Erasmus+" Programme to organisations which work with rural young people with fewer opportunities and planning of ideas for further interaction and cooperation among the partners. In addition to that, during the course a variety of activities for intercultural education and exchange between the participants took place. The overall project implementation was based on the working method "To See - To Judge - To Act". During the course, the participants discussed and analyzed the realities and current problems in working with autistic youth in rural areas of different countries. As a result of the training they acquired many useful and various competencies that improved their professional capacity and enhanced the quality of their work. The project intensified the exchange and the interaction between the participants and also between the partner organisations so as to develop and implement new tools and innovative approaches in working with rural young people with autism. This experience will help the participants and their organisations to initiate and implement new quality youth practices and initiatives at different levels to support autistic youngsters. But undoubtedly the most important project result is that the newly acquired knowledge and skills were immediately put into practice through the daily activities of the participants with rural autistic youngsters at local level. At the same time the project outcomes are disseminated at national and international level, through the membership of the partner organisations in different European youth and professional associations.

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