Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction and communication, repetitive and stereotyped interests and behaviours (American Psychiatric Association 2013) affecting as many as 1 in every 59 children (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018). One aspect that appears less researched in autism is attention skills, although attention is often atypical in people with autism and is closely linked to academic attainment in this population.
Importantly, attention skills can be trained using technology-based tools, which are thought to be an effective medium for individuals with autism. In our previous research, the Computerised Progressive Attention Training (CPAT; Shalev et al., 2007, a technology-based attention intervention tool), was used with children with autism leading to far transfer effects and improved academic performance (Spaniol et al., 2018). This tool and the knowledge base around it represent an exciting opportunity in the context of children with autism in educational context.
The Teacher Training and Attention in Autism (TTAA) project builds on this previous research in order to move forward and realise the beneficial potential of focusing on attention skills in autism. The project assembled a unique group of researchers, practitioners and user groups across four participating countries - UK, Spain, Greece and Israel (and beyond), to further research and promote the school-based provisions of attention in autism. This will also include software development for attention intervention and the accompanying training materials for practitioners so that these tools will be available to a broad range of practitioners and users.
This is an Erasmus+ funded project (2019-1-UK01-KA201-061560) running from September 2019 to August 2021.
The TTAA project is dedicated to creating adequate resources for teachers and professionals on the topic of attention in Autism.
The first TTAA transnational meeting took place in Tel Aviv University, Israel between 26th and 30th January 2020