Advancing Social Inclusion through Technology and Empowerment (a-STEP) COST Action CA19104


Geraldine Leader, Zeynep Şahin Timar, Özge Mısırlı, Merita Hoxha, Carla Sousa, Silvio Pagliara, Branislav Gerazov, Cecilia Sik-Lanyi, Şebnem Çakır


Social inclusion is an important element of well-being for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or Intellectual Disability (ID). Research has highlighted that social inclusion is facilitated through access to education and employment. Despite this, people with ASD and/or ID have low rates of participation in these domains. Research has demonstrated that Assistive Technology (AT) shows great promise in increasing participation in education and employment. Notwithstanding recent technological advances, there are low rates of adoption of AT throughout Europe by service providers, educators, employers and policymakers. There are several areas of unmet need including: high abandonment rates of AT, lack of inclusion of people with ASD and/or ID in the research process, lack of interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration and poor match between technology and the individual with ASD and/or ID. a-STEP has built an interdisciplinary, intersectoral pan EU and beyond consortium which will enhance social inclusion of individuals with ASD and/or ID. a-STEP is Evaluating the development of novel AT by providing an interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration between all stakeholders using a translational approach to establish standardised practice guidelines for design, development and deployment of AT. a-STEP is also Creating knowledge, by providing a database of current AT technologies and their match to employment and educational contexts for users with ASD and/or ID. Finally, a-STEP is Promoting the adoption of evidence-based guidelines in relation to use of AT across settings and populations and propagating the use of inclusive design and rigorous research approaches. During this session a-STEP Workgroup leaders will present their findings.

Expected learning outcomes

Learn about the a-STEP COST action, it’s aims, activities, working groups, deliverables and grants.