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Free counseling centers for people with autism

Free counseling centers for people with autism

40 counseling centers and free assistance for people with autism have started their activity and are waiting for the beneficiaries

Within the project "And they must have a chance!", Carried out by the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection - Child Protection Directorate and with the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies in Romania, were set up in country, 40 Counseling and Assistance Centers for people with autism and their families. At this moment, 120 specialists trained in therapeutic interventions for people with autism spectrum disorders (TSA) are working in the Centers, but also in counseling their families.

The program aims to establish a network of free services, at national level, with trained personnel, services that are accessible to any family experiencing autism. The addresses of the 40 Centers located in 35 counties of the country and in Bucharest are available on the website www.autism.raa.ro, Services section.

Training of specialists

The project "And they must have a chance!" 588 psychologists, psychotherapists and psycho-pedagogues had an important training component, in the first part of the development, either in therapeutic interventions for people with autism, or in monitoring the efficiency of the recovery activity of people with autism.

The trained persons are psychologists, psychotherapists and psycho-pedagogues, compulsory university specializations for the access of the candidates to the selection process and, finally, to the courses. Other such criteria included the experience of working with children / people with autism, children from vulnerable groups, children with disabilities, the motivation for completing the training and using the information obtained in the professional activity and the recommendation provided by the current employer. The courses were addressed, equally, to professionals from public or private institutions, or to NGOs that carry out recovery activities for people with ASD.

The training program was developed in partnership with the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies in Romania and readers. The courses were supported by mixed teams of Romanian and UK readers, doctors in psychology, psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, supervisors in cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy or consultants in specific interventions in autism spectrum disorder, with extensive experience in working with individuals. with TSA.

The training had a structure that combined the theoretical courses and the supervised practice, for both categories of personnel.

For specialists, the teaching section was held for 6 days, for each of the 6 groups of trainees trained in intervention techniques.

The topic of theoretical training

The subject of the theoretical training included:

  • Basics in autism spectrum disorders;
  • TSA Screening (alarm signals, what do we do if we suspect a potential diagnosis of TSA);
  • TSA diagnosis;
  • Evaluation of the learning process and the educational stage;
  • Early interventions for children with ASD;
  • Interventions for the development of social skills;
  • Interventions scientifically validated in the school environment;
  • Intervention programs applied individually.

The structure of the theoretical courses for monitors

The structure of the theoretical courses for monitors included 3 days of theoretical training (20 hours), and the thematic included:

  • Basic principles in personnel monitoring and training (with specificity in TSA interventions);
  • The role of the different types of professions involved in the therapeutic activity in the case of families having a member with ASD, applied in different contexts;
  • Review of scientifically validated interventions;
  • Tools for monitoring progress and continuous professional development;
  • Obstacles in intervention / behavior or learning problems that resist to the typical interventions;
  • Offering brief information on the latest studies in the field of scientifically validated interventions;
  • Establishing a framework for monitoring and evaluating professionals
  • Staff monitoring.

Dr. Gregory Pasco, Researcher at the Research Center for Autism and Education (Institute of Education at the University of London, UK) and lecturer in the training program under the project "And they must have a chance", recalls that "one One of the participants told me, after the course of non-directive therapy for non-verbal children, that she had realized how her old way of working could deprive children of the joy of playing or communicating spontaneously. I was impressed by her desire to to incorporate new working methods in professional practice and, in general, of the interest and dedication of all the students ".

After completing the theoretical training, a 6-month practice period followed, during which the students worked, each, with 2 cases of people with autism spectrum disorder. Each case was well documented, with progress reports and records during therapeutic interventions.

The practice of each specialist was monitored by the professionals trained in monitoring the efficiency of the activity. Subsequently, the activity of all participants in the courses (specialists and monitors) was evaluated by supervisors in cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy or by consultants in specific interventions in autism spectrum disorders. Participants who completed the supervised practice period received feedback from supervisors and consultants.

To complete and complete the training, the specialists and the monitors received credits from the Romanian College of Psychologists. Each student was awarded 21 credits for completing the course "Therapeutic interventions in recovering people with autism spectrum disorder (monitoring the activity efficiency)", 40 credits for completing the course "Therapeutic interventions in recovering people with spectrum disorders. Fundamentals (practical therapeutic applications) ”and 30 credits for the period of supervised practice.

Most of the Centers already work with beneficiaries, being offered free evaluation and individualized intervention. Depending on the age of the beneficiary, degree of functional impairment, availability and working hours of the Center, the intervention may be punctual, short term, focused on the problem, or may be of duration and may include several hours per day or per week.

In essence, in relation to the current need for services for people with autism, the Centers set up by the project in Romania represent only a first step, a starting point that is constituted in the first network of services of this kind in the country and also the first partnership. public-private offering services for people with TSA.

The project "And they must have a chance! - Support program for the social and professional integration of people with autism spectrum disorders" aims to increase the chances of social integration and, subsequently, of access to the labor market, of children and young people with autism, by early diagnosis and facilitating access to recovery services and programs and specialized assistance. The project is carried out by the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection - Child Protection Directorate and with the Association of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapies in Romania.

More information is available on www.autism.raa.ro.

The project was started on October 1, 2010, has a duration of 3 years and benefits from co-financing from the European Social Fund, through the Operational Sectoral Program of Human Resources Development 2007 - 2013, "Invest in people!".