Angsa Vibo, a work inclusion project for young people with autism


By John

The 17th World Autism Awareness Day was celebrated on Tuesday 2 April. Monuments, squares and buildings light up in BLUE with the aim of demonstrating solidarity and closeness to the various problems relating to autism spectrum disorders. Blue draws attention and awareness on a topic that is estimated to involve 600,000 families in Italy. According to data from the Ministry of Health one in 77 children aged 7-9 years has autism spectrum disorders. The aims of the day are to promote correct knowledge of autistic disorder, facilitate early diagnosis, encourage adequate intervention according to current scientific evidence, guarantee continuity of services, support valorisation and inclusion in the community, in schools and in world of work for people with autism spectrum disorders. For parents, receiving a diagnosis of autism means having to completely change the lifestyle of the entire family, as well as having to face the painful process of accepting the diagnosis itself almost always alone. Added to this is the lack of access to specific and certified enabling interventions, based on ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) as a subjective right provided for by Article 60 of the LEAs in application of Law 134/2015 and the Guidelines referred to in the conference unified law 35/CU of 10 May 2018, together with the current enabling law 227/2021 which mainly qualifies as the guarantee of the Life Project of every person with disabilities, art 14 of law 328 of 2000.

This is currently the regulatory framework that establishes the right to global and multidisciplinary care of the autistic person, through a network of coordinated and constant services, necessary to make them as independent and autonomous as possible. This serious lack of coordination between the relevant institutions, Social Territorial Areas and ASP DU, inspired the ANGSA province of Vibo Valentia to request and urge a “Services Conference” which was held on March 19th, at the General Directorate of 'ASP of Vibo Valentia, which was attended by representatives of the healthcare company, those of the three Social Territorial Areas of the province, Vibo Valentia, Spilinga and Serra San Bruno, as well as and, as required by Legislative Decree 117/2017, a representation of the Third Sector Forum. From the meeting emerged the need shared by all the participants of the urgent need to reorganize and better prepare social, health and socio-health services throughout the provincial territory, giving enforcement to the relevant laws with the aim of avoiding any form of discrimination towards people with autism and their families, taking care to update a registry that includes especially the most fragile situations, including economically and culturally. This has been requested several times in the past by ANGSA to the various successive commissioners and finally accepted by Commissioner Battistini. It is certainly still only a starting point, but necessary for the establishment of a permanent consultation table on health and social matters of co-programming and shared co-planning, between the representatives of the ASP, of the three Territorial Social Areas and of the Third Sector. Some ANGSA VV initiatives inspired by Autism Awareness Day continue today with the inauguration of a green area granted to the association by the municipality of Drapia, thanks to the project “BLUE returns GREEN” which involves young apprentices autistic people in the redevelopment and beautification of the green area, supported by educators and volunteers. Through small tasks, the kids are demonstrating that they too can and must make a contribution to the community in which they live. The project, although it may appear symbolic in nature, today marks an important stage on how to include autistic children in the world of work, starting with small work inclusion activities. Having to keep the green area clean and tidy by redeveloping it for at least a year, as established in the municipal resolution, restores dignity and acceptance of the responsibility and skills acquired as “A” citizens. The commitment made is an input to having to do, to want to participate, to be there every day, because Autism is experienced every day by families and the inclusive community. Information and awareness will be explored in depth during the conference “Aut Generation – let's give a voice to autism”, which will be held in Tropea on 18 April, at Palazzo Santa Chiara.

Among the illustrious speakers the Hon Chiara Gemma, MEP and Intergroup Member on Disability of the European Parliament, Prof. Antonella Valenti, Full Professor of Didactics and Special Pedagogy at the University of Calabria (CS), Prof. Francesco Craig, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Cultures, Education and Society, University of Calabria (CS), the president of ANGSA Nazionale Eng. Giovanni Marino, president of the Melito Porto Salvo Foundation of the same name and the participation of the Third Sector Forum of the province. Another initiative this month, something that has always been close to the heart of ANGSA VV, finds us committed to raising awareness and involving students in the lives of their autistic classmates, through the screening of the docufilm “On the BLU path”, created with the scientific support of Prof. KELLER. The initiative was organized with the IIS “P. Galluppi” in Tropea is preparatory to the event “La Staffetta BLU”, an inclusive walk among the naturalistic beauties of the Serre Vibonesi Regional Natural Park, which will be held on Sunday 23 June. In recent days we have had confirmation of how important and necessary the initiatives are that arise with the intention of making our children with autism live experiences in natural contexts, among ordinary people. From the initiative was born solidarity, awareness, inclusion and the joy of living to make us live better. We are confident in the participation in the events organized mainly by parents and those who believe that children with autism spectrum disorder can teach us a lot and amaze us both through the skills acquired and with their creativity if correctly accompanied by the relevant institutions as well as by the family.