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World Autism Awareness Day: IMOB is devoted to help people with autism too

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World Autism Awareness Day: IMOB is devoted to help people with autism too    Apr 02, 2017

World Autism Awareness Day: IMOB is devoted to help people with autism too
Apr 02, 2017

Today, the 2nd of April 2017, is World Autism Awareness Day once again. This day is meant to give extra attention to autism. Besides, the Vlaamse Vereniging Autisme (VVA) wants to highlight the authenticity and diversity of people with autism. After all, it is important to focus on the talents and strengths of people with autism, something that the Transportation Research Institute (IMOB) supports with several projects.

In 2007, the United Nations decided to call out the 2nd of April as World Autism Awareness Day. The purpose of this day is to make everyone aware of what autism exactly is and to show that every person is the same. Worldwide, initiatives are taken and events are organized on this day. This is to ensure that society shows more understanding for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their immediate surroundings.

Belgium also immediately put its weight behind this initiative. After all, autism is not an unknown concept here. More than 1% of the population has ASD. This equates to more than 80,000 people. In Flanders specifically, there are approximately 42,000 people with autism.

IMOB’s projects regarding autism

The Transportation Research Institute also finds it important to call attention to autism. In fact, people with ASD sometimes need more support with various daily activities and therefore as well as with activities related to mobility. At IMOB, they search for possibilities to increase the social inclusion of people with autism and to advance independent functioning.

IMOB’s researchers already worked with people with autism for different projects. The Yes I Drive-research project for example, aimed to advance learning to drive for people with autism. IMOB also collaborated on writing a brochure where tips and tricks were given for driving instructors to guide young drivers with autism in a better way.

Likewise, Viamigo - which was initially designed for people with an intellectual disability – can be useful to people with autism. The Viamigo platform allows users to independently hit the road while a coach, which is for example a parent, can keep an eye on them from a distance and follow them in real-time. After all, it is not always easy for people with ASD to hit the road autonomously and friends, family or volunteers cannot always be physically present to assist them. “With our mobile service Viamigo, we aim to strengthen the self-confidence of people who are hesitant to travel alone or who encounter obstacles when travelling alone. Anyone using Viamigo, knows that they can request assistance at any time. That puts their mind at ease”, says An Neven, researcher at IMOB.

More information

Those who want more information about the projects regarding mobility for people with autism can visit the website http://www.uhasselt.be/IMOB-EN, send an email to veerle.ross@uhasselt.be or call Veerle Ross on +32 (0) 11 26 91 08.

For more information about Viamigo, visit the Viamigo website (www.viamigo.be/en), mail to info@viamigo.be or call An Neven on +32 (0) 11 26 91 30.