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EU Comission; United Nations Convention of the Rights of persons with disabilities

EU Comission; Analytical support and exchange of information in social protection and inclusion

European Parliament resolution of 4 October 2023 on harmonising the rights of autistic persons (2023/2728(RSP))

On Wednesday, 4 October 2023, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a non-binding resolution entitled “Harmonising rights of autistic people”. This resolution calls on the European Commission and European Union (EU) Member States to consider the rights and needs of autistic people. The Resolution spans key areas from access to diagnosis, to eligibility for the upcoming European Disability Card (and more generally disability status), highlighting various areas of discrimination across the lifespan without omitting the specific needs of girls and women on the autism spectrum and other groups.

Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) – since 2006

International treaty to combat discrimination and human rights violations.
The Convention is part of the context of the protection and promotion of the rights of the person, as outlined internationally since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, and confirms in favour of persons with disabilities the fundamental principles in relation to the rights of equal opportunities and non-discrimination.
In general, the Convention does not recognise ‘new’ rights for persons with disabilities, but rather aims to ensure that they can enjoy all the rights granted to other citizens.

Disability Platform (E03820)

The Mission of the platform is to establish close cooperation between the institutions of the Member States, the Commission and the civil society on issues relating to disability and to facilitate the exchange of information, experiences and good practices. To facilitate the exchange of information, experiences and good practices in the area of disability To support the implementation of the UNCRPD and the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Written declaration, under Rule 136 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, on autism – 2015

The declaration highlights several critical issues related to autism. Firstly, it underscores that autism is a complex brain disorder that typically manifests in early childhood, affecting approximately 1% of the population. The severity of autism varies and impacts individuals’ ability to comprehend, communicate, and engage socially, with the causes still under study.

Furthermore, the declaration acknowledges that, even though there is no definitive cure for autism, early and intensive intervention can significantly enhance the quality of life for affected individuals.

A key concern is the lack of timely diagnoses in Europe, despite the importance of early identification to ensure necessary support and education.

The Commission and the Council are called upon to support accurate and timely autism diagnoses for both children and adults.

Finally, it is proposed that the Commission and the Council adopt a comprehensive approach to address the challenges that individuals with autism face throughout their lives. This approach should encompass promoting autism research, prevalence studies, and the sharing of best practices related to evidence-based interventions for autistic children, as well as support and rehabilitation services for adults. The declaration, along with the names of the signatories, will be presented to the Council and the Commission for future actions.


The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU) was first proclaimed on December 7, 2000, in Nice and later in an adapted version on December 12, 2007, in Strasbourg by the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission. It was created in response to the need, identified during the Cologne European Council in June 1999, to define a set of highly relevant and universally guaranteed rights and freedoms for all EU citizens.

The Charter encompasses rights in four categories:

  1. Common fundamental freedoms found in all member states’ constitutions.
  2. Rights exclusively for Union citizens, including the right to elect European Parliament representatives and enjoy common diplomatic protection.
  3. Economic and social rights related to labor law.
  4. Modern rights stemming from technological advancements, such as data protection, and prohibitions against eugenics, disability, and sexual orientation-based discrimination.

European Disability Card – not yet implemented

The card will serve as a proof of disability status across all EU countries.

It will grant cardholders equal access to special conditions and preferential treatments anywhere in the EU.

The special conditions apply when using public transport, attending cultural events and visiting museums, leisure and sports centres, amusement parks, and more.

They can take the form of, among others:

  • free entry
  • reduced tariffs
  • priority access
  • personal assistance
  • mobility aids

“Policies for Non-Self-Sufficiency and Disability”

The 2020 budget law established the “Fund for Disability and Non-Self-Sufficiency” with the aim of streamlining and simplifying policies for non-self-sufficiency and disability. In 2022, the fund was renamed the “Fund for Policies in Favor of People with Disabilities,” with an annual increase of €50 million from 2023 to 2026. Law No. 227 of 2021, effective on December 31, 2021, delegated authority over disability matters to the government. The “Support Decree” created the “Fund for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities,” and the 2022 budget law increased its allocation for 2022 and 2023. This fund covers various areas, including employment inclusion and accessible tourism, with a specific focus on individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

The 2019 budget law confirmed allocations for non-self-sufficiency and disability, also increasing funds for the “After Us Fund” and the regional fund for caregivers. In 2021, a new fund was established for recognizing the non-professional activity of caregivers, with an annual allocation of €30 million for the 2021-2023 triennium. In 2022, this fund was increased by an additional €50 million annually for the 2022-2024 triennium, reaching a final allocation of €80 million for 2022. The 2022 budget law created a fund to enhance support services for students with disabilities in schools, with €100 million annually from 2022.

Finally, the same 2022 budget law increased the “Municipal Solidarity Fund” to improve school transportation for students with disabilities, with a growing allocation from €30 million in 2022 to €120 million annually from 2027.

European Parliament debated access to employment for autistic people in plenary

European Commission Communicators

Autism Europe

Autism-Europe aisbl is an international association whose main objective is to advance the rights of autistic people and their families and to help them improve their quality of life.

It ensures effective liaison among almost 90-member autism organisations from 40 European countries, including 26 Member States of the European Union, governments and European and international institutions.

Autism-Europe plays a key role in raising public awareness, and in influencing the European decision-makers on all issues relating to the rights of autistic people

FIA – Italian Autism Foundation

It is a foundation that aggregates associations of family members of people with autism, associations of people with disabilities, scientific societies, private non-profit foundations and moral entities, which since 2015 share the common goal of promoting a culture attentive to the needs and rights of people with autism. Since 2020, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers has actively supported the aims of the FIA by expressing a member in the Board of Directors.


“The National Association of Parents for People with Autism (ANGSA) was founded in 1985 to advocate for the rights of individuals with autism and their families. Comprising parents, family members, guardians, and individuals on the autism spectrum, it is a Social Promotion Association (APS) and a Non-profit Organization of Social Utility (Onlus).”

National Association of Families and Persons with Intellectual and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

Anffas is dedicated to building a world where individuals with intellectual disabilities and neurodevelopmental disorders, along with their families, can experience their rights being respected and fully upheld. The organization is unwavering in its commitment to safeguarding the rights of individuals with disabilities across all situations, without compromising or adjusting their inherent value. Anffas underscores the vital role of supporting families in enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals with disabilities, asserting that this responsibility should extend beyond families to include the Italian state. Anffas encourages the removal of economic and social obstacles to better fulfill this responsibility.

Championing social inclusion, Anffas highlights the crucial role of fostering communities in providing care for individuals. The organization recognizes the importance of services branded under the Anffas name in bolstering the skills of individuals with disabilities, thereby facilitating their social integration. Ultimately, Anffas pledges to operate in strict accordance with regulations and transparency, aspiring to set an example for communities. This commitment aims to counteract the prevalent trend of disregarding rules and overlooking the common good in the social sphere.

Autism-Europe’s World Autism Awareness Day 2023 Campaign Manifesto

Policy Document

Europa Parliament resolution 4 October 2023 on harmonising the rights of autistic persons

Autism and education—international policy in small EU states: policy mapping in Malta, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Slovenia

Policy Frameworks

Union of equality: Strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021-2030

To achieve further progress in ensuring the full participation of persons with disabilities, the new and strengthened Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030 will guide the action of Member States as well as EU institutions, building on the achievements of the previous ten years and offering solutions to the challenges ahead. The new strategy will help to deliver on President von der Leyen’s priorities of building a Union of Equality and delivering on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030 intends to tackle the diverse challenges that persons with disabilities face. It aims to progress on all areas of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, both at EU and Member State level.

The goal is to ensure that persons with disabilities in Europe, regardless of their sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation:

  • enjoy their human rights,
  • have equal opportunities,
  • have equal access to participate in society and economy,
  • are able to decide where, how and with whom they live,
  • can move freely in the EU regardless of their support needs,
  • no longer experience discrimination.

European Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A Renewed Commitment to a Barrier-Free Europe – 2010 (old)

The European Commission has just adopted a strategy to break down barriers with a view to tackling inequalities and social exclusion.

The overall aim of this Strategy is to empower people with disabilities so that they can enjoy their full rights, and benefit fully from participating in society and in the European economy, notably through the Single market. Achieving this and ensuring effective implementation of the UN Convention across the EU calls for consistency. This Strategy identifies actions at EU level to supplement national ones, and it determines the mechanisms needed to implement the UN Convention at EU level, including inside the EU institutions.

This Strategy focuses on eliminating barriers.

The Commission has identified eight main areas for action: accessibility, Participation, Equality, Employment, Education and training, Social protection, Health, and External Action.

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

“The ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) by the EU and all but one Member State, has had a clear impact on autism service provision. One of the most striking impacts is the gradual deinstitutionalisation taking place across the continent, in line with Article 19 of the UNCRPD”.

Europe’s Autism Framework – Pitfalls and Recommendations

European agency for special needs and inclusive education

Policy Initiatives

European Parliament debated access to employment for autistic people in plenary


How to talk and write about autism

Publications and Reports

Autism-Europe’s position on how to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights November, 2020.

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Identification, Understanding, Intervention- Third Edition

Autism Europe: Good practices for the inclusion of teenagers on the autism spectrum in non-formal learning activities

WHO – World Report on Disability 2011

The first global disability report, developed by WHO and the World Bank, indicates that over a billion people worldwide live with a disability. Individuals with disabilities often face challenges related to health, education, economic opportunities, and poverty due to the lack of services and obstacles in their daily lives. The report provides evidence on effective strategies to overcome these barriers and improve access to medical care, rehabilitation, education, employment, and support services. It concludes with specific recommendations for governments and their partners.

This groundbreaking disability report will have a significant impact on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Spanning public health, human rights, and development, it is set to become an essential resource for policymakers, service providers, professionals, and advocates for people with disabilities and their families

WHO – Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030

This updated Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 builds upon its predecessor and sets out clear actions for Member States, the WHO Secretariat and international, regional and national partners to promote mental health and well-being for all, to prevent mental health conditions for those at-risk and to achieve universal coverage for mental health services. While the updated action plan includes new and updated indicators and implementation options, the original four major objectives remain unchanged: more effective leadership and governance for mental health; the provision of comprehensive, integrated mental health and social care services in community-based settings; implementation of strategies for promotion and prevention; and strengthened information systems, evidence and research.

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF)

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, known more commonly as ICF, is a classification of health and health-related domains.

As the functioning and disability of an individual occurs in a context, ICF also includes a list of environmental factors.

ICF is the WHO framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels.

ICF was officially endorsed by all 191 WHO Member States in the Fifty-fourth World Health Assembly on 22 May 2001(resolution WHA 54.21) as the international standard to describe and measure health and disability.

ICF is based on the same foundation as ICD and ICHI and share the same set of extension codes that enable documentation at a higher level of detail

Guideline recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder

The text concerns the care of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) under National Law No. 134/2015. This law establishes interventions necessary to guarantee health, improve living conditions and promote the social and work inclusion of people with ASD. The Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) is in charge of updating the guidelines (LG) based on the evolution of scientific knowledge. The LG include 27 recommendations and 1 indication of good clinical practice on diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and medication. Diagnosis is considered fundamental in order to initiate proper care. Recommended interventions should be conducted by trained professionals. A personalised approach is suggested, considering the patient’s age, profile and context. Pharmacological interventions should be part of a broader approach, also integrating non-pharmacological interventions. The recommendations are aimed at healthcare professionals involved in the diagnosis and care of people with ASD, offering decision support to balance benefits and adverse effects.

Guideline recommendations on the diagnosis and treatment of adults with autism spectrum disorder

The recommendations generated in the development of the Guidelines are addressed to all healthcare professionals and socio-health professionals involved in the processes of diagnosing and managing children, adolescents, and adults on the autism spectrum. In the specialist professional context, they serve as a decision support tool aimed at facilitating the adoption of interventions that provide a better balance between benefits and undesired effects. For individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, the formulated recommendations offer operational guidance and knowledge on useful and necessary practices to improve their health status. The updated production of recommendations ensures up-to-date guidance on the educational choices to be promoted among professionals involved in the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Check progress on the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The monitoring framework of the 2021-2030 Strategy for the Rights of Persons with disabilities has now been published. It allows you to check the progress on each of the European Commission’s 64 actions in the Strategy.

Disability and Health Overview

Early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorders

Data & Statistics on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Research/Case Studies

A systematic review of the behavioural outcomes following exercise interventions for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder. Bremer, Crozier & Lloyd, (2016).

The purpose of this review was to systematically search and critically analyse the literature pertaining to behavioural outcomes of exercise interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder aged ⩽16 years. This systematic review employed a comprehensive peer-reviewed search strategy, two-stage screening process and rigorous critical appraisal, which resulted in the inclusion of 13 studies. Results demonstrated that exercise interventions consisting individually of jogging, horseback riding, martial arts, swimming or yoga/dance can result in improvements to numerous behavioural outcomes including stereotypic behaviours, social-emotional functioning, cognition and attention. Horseback riding and martial arts interventions may produce the greatest results with moderate to large effect sizes, respectively. Future research with well-controlled designs, standardized assessments, larger sample sizes and longitudinal follow-ups is necessary, in addition to a greater focus on early childhood (aged 0–5years) and adolescence (aged 12–16years), to better understand the extent of the behavioural benefits that exercise may provide these populations.

Intervention Services for Autistic Adults: An ASDEU Study of Autistic Adults, Carers, and Professionals’ Experiences

The Autism Spectrum Disorders in the European Union (ASDEU) survey investigated local services’ use experiences of autistic adults, carers and professionals with interventions for autistic adults. The majority of the 697 participants experienced recommended considerations prior to deciding on intervention and during the intervention plan and implementation. Psychosocial interventions were the most commonly experienced interventions, while pharmacological interventions NOT recommended for core autistic symptoms were reported by fairly large proportions of participants. Family interventions were experienced slightly more commonly by carers than adults or professionals. Less than the 26% of autistic adult responders who had experienced challenging behaviors reported receiving an intervention to change them. These results provide insights for improving gaps in service provision of interventions among autistic adults.

GEMMA (Genome, Environment, Microbiome and Metabolome in Autism)

GEMMA (Genome, Environment, Microbiome and Metabolome in Autism) project is a longitudinal, observational, and prospective Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) study that uses a unique multi-omics model to discover potential biomarkers of ASD.

The GEMMA project team consists of an EU consortium of researchers that are funded by the European Commission as part of Horizon 2020 Program. This study team aims to develop a greater understanding of autism-related symptoms and its comorbidity to gastrointestinal dysfunction. The study is currently enrolling infants that are 0-6 months of age who already have a sibling diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This project will provide comprehensive autism assessments for these infants starting at 12 months of age up until age 3.

Diagnostic criteria for autism under the DSM-5


INTRODUCTION: Autism as context blindness


How to Create An Inclusive Classroom

The world needs all kinds of minds – Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

4 ways to design a disability-friendly future

Nearly fifteen percent of the world’s population lives with a disability, yet this massive chunk of humanity is still routinely excluded from opportunities. Sharing her experience growing up with an autistic sister, disability inclusion advocate Meghan Hussey illuminates the path towards an inclusive future in four steps, and it starts with an attitude check on assumptions and stereotypes. Designing a world built for everyone is not a “nice to have,” Hussey says — it’s critical to the fabric of society.

Autism — what we know (and what we don’t know yet)

In this factual talk, geneticist Wendy Chung shares what we know about autism spectrum disorder — for example, that autism has multiple, perhaps interlocking, causes. Looking beyond the worry and concern that can surround a diagnosis, Chung and her team look at what we’ve learned through studies, treatments and careful listening.

Chats από τα Ημερολόγια Αυτισμού – Chats from Autism Diaries

Description in Greek: Μια σειρά από podcast και βίντεο, καθώς και συλλογή από άρθρα και επιπλέον υλικό για υποστήριξη γονέων που μεγαλώνουν παιδιά με Αυτισμό.

Τα Chats είναι ένα podcast ειδικά φτιαγμένο για γονείς που μεγαλώνουν παιδιά με ιδιαίτερες ανάγκες, δίνοντας μεγαλύτερη έμφαση στον αυτισμό. Σκοπός του είναι να δώσει πληροφορίες κι έμπνευση, μέσα από διαλόγους που θα γίνονται με ειδικούς ή γονείς. Τους καλεσμένους των επεισοδίων φιλοξενεί η Εύη Δέμου, δημιουργός του blog Ημερολόγια Αυτισμού, και μητέρα δύο παιδιών στο φάσμα του αυτισμού.

Description in English: A series of podcasts, videos, articles and additional material to support parents and guardians of children with autism.
Chats is a series of podcast dedicated to parents and guardians who raise children with special needs, focusing on autism. Through this series with parents or professionals, we aim to provide information and support parents. Host of the podcast is Evi Demou, developer of the blog Autism Diaries and mother of two children with ASD.

Η πρώτη γνωριμία με το μαθητή με αυτισμό – The first meeting with a student with ASD

Description in Greek: Αν είστε εκπαιδευτικός σε σχολείο γενικής εκπαίδευσης και είναι η πρώτη φορά που θα έχετε στην τάξη σας μαθητή με αυτισμό ή είστε εκπαιδευτικός παράλληλης στήριξης, τότε αυτή η παρουσίαση μπορεί να σας φανεί χρήσιμη. Στην παρουσίαση γίνεται αναφορά σε κάποιες οδηγίες που μπορείτε να αξιοποιήσετε προκειμένου να προετοιμαστείτε κατάλληλα για τη νέα σχολική χρονιά.

Στο κανάλι μπορείτε να βρείτε επιπλέον υλικό για διάφορες δραστηριότητες και καθημερινές διαδικασίες.

Description in English: If you are an educator in a typical school and it’s your first time having a student with ASD in your class or if you are an Education Support Staff, then this presentation will be helpful. In the presentation there are some instructions and tips so you can prepare for the school year.
On their youtube channel you can find additional resources for everyday activities.

“What does it mean to be autistic?”

“Being autistic entails a perpetual process of adaptation, akin to the continuous learning of a new language”. Giulia realized she was autistic during adulthood. Presently, she actively engages as an advocate, striving for the acknowledgment and celebration of the diversities among autistic individuals within society.

What is Autism? | Quick Learner

ASD Inclusion Strategy Canvas Template

Free to use online resources (templates) for youth organizations

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 3

ASD Youth Work Factsheets and Infographics

Free to use online resources (templates) for youth organizations

Factsheet 1

Factsheet 2

Infographic 1

Infographic 2

Infographic 3

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