Integration into community, participation, since an early age, in activities with typical children, complemented by specialized interventions (appropriate therapies) helps autistic children to learn the skills for a normal life and to exploit as well the development potential.
Integration in the school environment (kindergarten, school) represents the first step towards social integration.
In Romania, however, school integration of children with autism is done with difficulty. School and teachers, parents of typical children, as well as children with autism and their families are not, in most cases, ready for meeting and working together.
Teachers have various reactions against children with autism, from compassion to rejection. Rejection occurs from fear of being wrong in relation to the child or anxiety that attention and resources directed towards children with autism could lead to neglect the needs of other children in the class. Most teachers do not feel sufficiently prepared to deal with cases of this kind. Equally, due to the lack of information about the disease, typical children’s parents fear that the presence of a child with autism in collective could drop the education level of class or would endanger the physical integrity of other children (according to the study The public attitude towards autism, 2011 – qualitative and quantitative research by Gallup and D&D Research).
On the other hand, in most cases, children with autism are not ready for integration into the community, for in Romania the access to specialized therapeutic interventions that enable learning of social, relationship and communication skills is still difficult.
The project “Prepared community, integrated child” aims to diminish this shortcoming and to build in 10 counties a training model for both the school and the children with autism and their families to bring them closer and facilitate a beautiful and constructive working relationship.