Listening to (empower) parents: family education for children on the autism spectrum in south-east Europe

David Preece, Loizos Symeou, Jasmina Stošić, Eleni Theodorou, Katerina Mavrou, Jasmina Troshanska, Jasmina Frey Škrinjar, Vladimir Trajkovski

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper


General description: Autism challenges traditional parenting styles, and can make parents feel deskilled and disempowered, especially if little information or support is available to them. Giving accurate information about autism to parents, and teaching them to adapt their parenting using good autism practice has been shown to be effective in improving personal, educational and social outcomes for individuals with autism and their families (Green et al., 2010). However, in some parts of Europe, such support is extremely limited or non-existent. This paper reports on a three-year EU-funded project (September 2015-August 2018) in which family members, professionals and academics are working together in a strategic partnership. The partnership’s objectives are to develop a core parent autism training curriculum/locally appropriate parent education materials and methods, to provide parent education in three south-eastern European countries, and to share the curriculum and materials with stakeholders across Europe. Methods/methodology: The project is evaluated using a combined process and outcome evaluation methodology (Royse et al., 2009). This includes the use of quantitative methods (pre-training, post-training and follow up parent questionnaires, incorporating a validated Quality of Life scale), qualitative methods (parent interviews, trainer focus groups and trainer reflective diaries) and document analysis. Findings: The paper presents an overview of the work undertaken by the partnership to date. This comprises a survey of parents (n=148) and the identification of the core curriculum (Preece et al., 2016), the development of the training materials and training teams, and the establishment of the parent training courses. Initial parent training courses have been held in the three countries between March 2016 and March 2017. Findings are shared from the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data collected with regard to the experience of living with autism of these parents (n=approx. 120), the training and its impact. Implications for the further development of the project are identified and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
EventEuropean Research Network About Parents in Education: 11th Biennial Conference - University of Roehampton
Duration: 5 Jul 2017 → …


ConferenceEuropean Research Network About Parents in Education: 11th Biennial Conference
Period5/07/17 → …


  • Parent education
  • autism
  • family quality of life


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