With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people with autism.

Are you, or is someone you know, one of the 0.6 % of the EU population that may be affected by autism spectrum disorders? Autistic people experience difficulties interacting and communicating with others, which can go from mild (as in Asperger’s syndrome), to disabling. Autism usually appears in early childhood and may cause problems in social, occupational or other important areas of everyday life.

one sad little boy sitting near the window at the day time. Concept of sorrow.
© altanaka / Fotolia

The EU complements national policies to help to improve the quality of life of people affected by autism. To better diagnose and treat the condition, the EU has financed research on new treatments, with the largest single grant for autism in the world, including over €20 million from the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative. The EU also supported a project to study diagnosis, prevalence, interventions and ways to improve care and support for sufferers with over €2 million in funding, as well as funding a multidisciplinary network to investigate early life brain development disruptions leading to autism and to train young researchers. The EU has also helped autistic children by helping to develop a robot for an emotion-recognition and emotion-expression teaching programme. The EU also helps with training for professionals and carers, such as the training network for autism researchers; a project to develop basic reference training for all professionals, to support autistic people and their inclusion; and autism training for pre-school teachers, to reduce disparities and foster inclusion; and a project to provide training for parents, stressing positive approaches to autism.

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