Limassol, Cyprus – May 15, 2023
The launch of eHealth4Autism (project code: KA210-ADU-8FB0E042) took place on April 27, 2023, as part of the European Union’s Erasmus+ KA210-ADU program. This project aims to combat stigma and discrimination faced by adults living with autism and their family caregivers in Europe. By disseminating successful awareness campaigns in Cyprus, Greece, and Belgium, the project promotes the effective utilization of non-clinical e-health solutions for adults and their caregivers.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that influences individuals’ perception of the world and their interactions with others. Autistic adults have unique perspectives, often experiencing the world differently. Despite significant progress in understanding autism over the past four decades, support services for autistic adults have not kept pace with those for children. Consequently, employment prospects and opportunities for independent living for autistic adults remain inadequate. The outcomes for autistic adults vary widely, and while cognitive and language abilities play a role, the influence of social, emotional, familial, and other factors remains uncertain.
Many autistic adults have limited independence and continue to rely heavily on parental support, with minimal social engagement outside their families. Additionally, the causes of mental health problems in autism are poorly understood. Clinical services often encounter individuals who, after showing reduced autistic symptoms and initial progress during childhood, start experiencing mental health issues during adolescence. Poor mental health can have a more significant impact on functioning than the autism symptoms themselves. Validated psychiatric assessment measures for people with autism, particularly non-verbal adults with low cognitive abilities, are lacking, and diagnoses often depend on accounts provided by parents or caregivers, which may not fully reflect the individual’s challenges.
Technology, particularly communication-focused applications and features on various devices, has been commonly employed to assist individuals with autism. There are numerous apps and built-in functionalities designed to support individuals at different levels of communication ability, from nonverbal to those with strong verbal skills. Furthermore, autistic individuals face challenges in completing college or vocational courses successfully. Autism carries an increased risk of physical problems, leading to chronic health conditions and even premature mortality. Technological devices such as smartphones and tablets can serve as motivators for individuals with autism, utilizing apps or games as rewards for positive behavior or task completion.
The eHealth4Autism project aims to foster the exchange of effective approaches in supporting adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. By raising awareness among key stakeholders, the project seeks to improve societal perceptions and treatment of autistic adults, ultimately enhancing their quality of life.
Over the next year, the project team will focus on digital transformation, developing digital readiness, resilience, and capacity. Utilizing digital healthcare services like virtual support groups, apps, and e-services offered by various EU member states will be emphasized. The project will promote these digital services through two webinars and a comprehensive learning activity, including a three-day project meeting in Limassol and Nicosia, Cyprus. Additionally, a Good Practices Guide on non-clinical e-health solutions in Europe will be compiled and disseminated.
Led by Autism Praxis Infinity Solutions (APIS) Ltd from Cyprus, the project partners include the Greek Carers Network (EPIONI) from Greece and the Belgian Brain Council (BBC). During the kick-off meeting, the partners introduced the core aims and tasks of the project, presented their respective responsibilities and work plans, and engaged in discussions regarding the next steps.
For more information on the eHealth4Autism project, please visit: