Review by Julianna Hatygeorge: Special Educator & Hunter College Graduate Student
When given the task of researching autism in different countries , I was very interested in finding out more information on Greece’s take on individuals with autism. Being of Greek decent on my father’s side, I hoped to find current research, proper intervention practices and support in place for Greek individuals with autism. I was very happy with most of the information that I found. One of the main websites that I researched was The Greek Society for the Autistic (E.E.P.A.A.). Through family help with translations and Google Chrome’s automatic translator, I was able to easily navigate through the website that is written in Greek.
The website was clearly organized to find important and up to date information quickly. Main tabs at the top of the screen stated, News, Articles, Events, Communication, Services and Legislation. I was glad to see them at the top of the page. All of these links provide information for individuals living in Greece that have autism or have a family member with autism.
I found that many laws have been put in place to protect individuals living in Greece with autism. Along with European Federation laws in place to protect individuals with special needs, Greece continues to pass legislation to protect their citizens. Many of the laws are reminiscent of the United States IDEA Act. For example, Greek individuals with autism have the right to live independently, have access to appropriate education, adequate and accessible housing, income enough to provide food, clothing and shelter, training for proper employment and access to their personal records.
The E.E.P.A.A. website clearly states current laws and documents that pertain to what rights individuals with autism have in the country of Greece. I was also glad to see sections about upcoming seminars, classes and support groups for people and families with autism. Obtainable access to support groups is a good sign that citizens of Greece can get the help they need. The website lists different cities and islands that provide adequate learning environments for children, and contact information for specialists.
But no system is perfect. Just as in the US, it can often be difficult to get help for your specific situation or need. Many people get lost and forgotten in government systems. Especially when a country is going through so many political and social problems. Unfortunately people like individuals with autism are the ones who could be hurt the most during these times.