Visual art as a means to promote the expression of young people with autism spectrum disorders and down syndrome, and to actively include them in society by developing their capacity to become actors of social change.
There are plenty of initiatives and campaigns regarding inclusion and mental health targeted at neurotypical young people, but fewer for young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Down Syndrome (DS) in the European Union. Young people with ASD or DS often lack the necessary skills and tools to participate fully in society after finishing school. This can be due to difficulties in learning, such as struggling with communication skills and motivation. For example, individuals with DS may have trouble understanding speech and staying focused during learning activities. As a result, they may find it challenging to express themselves and engage with others. TUA is driven by the will to enable young people with ASD and DS to express themselves, contribute to social change and fight discrimination through the use of visual art. By tackling these challenges, TUA seeks to reduce the overall marginalisation experienced by these individuals.
- To promote social inclusion and improve outreach of youth with Down Syndrome (DS) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have traditionally been excluded.
- To develop inclusive learning environments and curricula that foster equity, equality, and respect.
- To facilitate self-expression through creative means and capacity.
- To increase the quality, innovation and recognition of work produced by young people with Down Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorders.
- Research for the creation and development of a special education (SE) curriculum on how to support young people with DS/ASD to become agents of social change through art.
- Piloting of the SE curriculum with professionals working with young individuals with ASD and Down Syndrome.
- Piloting of the interactive e-learning platform composed of the e-learning material based upon the SE curriculum and the interactive digital communication and expression tool for youth with ASD and Down Syndrome.
- Collection of information on case studies, art and entrepreneurship skills/concepts and models for the development of the Toolkit content.
- Special education (SE) curriculum for professionals on how to support youth with ASD and Down’s syndrome to become agents of social change
- E-learning platform for professionals working with young people with ASD and Down’s syndrome
- Digital space for communication between individuals with ASD and Down’s syndrome and exhibition of their artworks
- Toolkit for young people with ASD and Down syndrome’s development of artistic and entrepreneurial skills
The TUA project will impact approximately 5300 people:
- 10 artists and social entrepreneurs with an increased network and better knowledge of best practices thanks to the expert focus groups.
- 20 young people with ASD and Down syndrome empowered through their direct involvement in the focus groups and the testing of the e-learning environment.
- 10 trainers improving their professional abilities by developing the pilot module of the curriculum.
- 40 organisations working with young people with mental health conditions, or the arts industry introduced to creativity-based SE teaching methods through their consultancy role in the piloting of the curriculum.
- 20 professionals working with young people with mental health conditions will improve their professional skills through the piloting of the curriculum.
- 5000 people with decreased stigma and improved behaviour towards people with DS/ASD thanks to the visibility and dissemination activities.
- A minimum of 200 learners working with people with DS/ASD with strengthened capacity to resort to creativity-based SE teaching methods.