As part of the initial stage of the IVEA project, partners have conducted a literature review to collect data on employment of people with autism in Portugal, Hungary, Spain, Belgium, and also across the EU, to identify good practices and soft skills and incorporate them to the IVEA training courses for persons with autism and employers.
Due to the lack of support and widespread stigma and discrimination, persons with autism experience barriers to find a job and keep it. Besides offering support for their difficulties, it is also important to identify and make full use of their individual strengths. Each person with autism is unique and has its own different features. Persons on the autism spectrum can have an above-average level of skills in specific areas that may be very valuable for the employer organisation (high level of concentration and loyalty, low absenteeism, detailed factual knowledge, excellent record-keeping and memory, etc.).
Even though there are some European guides approaching good practices for people with autism, the IVEA project highlights the need to create a holistic European Guide for their effective vocational training that includes soft skills, including social and daily life skills and independence. In order to correct identify these skills, the IVEA project is undertaking a literature review and also have set three focus groups in Portugal, Spain and Hungary to hear the needs and experiences of persons with autism, families and employers.
This procedure has an added value to phase of the project, as partners can now better understand the difficulties, needs and the good practices on employment of people with autism through the knowledge and the experiences exchanged among the different participants. IVEA partners are currently working on the exhaustive analysis of both the literature review and the focus group results in order to create the content of the IVEA trainings for person with autism and employers.
In terms of methodology, all partners provided up to 10 scientific-based sources in English, about national, regional and local policies and practices on employment of people with autism in their countries. Then, an analysis of the compiled bibliography (scientific articles and papers, manuals, books, etc.) was carried out. As result of this work, a range basic concepts, good practices and soft skills on employment of people with autism were identified.