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The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) represents over 17.000 support services for persons with disabilities across Europe and across disability. We strive to deliver high-quality services promoting the full participation and inclusion in society of all persons with disabilities. We believe that support services play a key role in enabling people to enjoy their human rights on an equal basis, beyond disability or any other factor. It is precisely this belief that guides our work in Brussels, Strasbourg and throughout Europe.

As such, we work towards ensuring:

  • The full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • The provision of high-quality, and user-centred services running in an accountable, efficient and effective way;
  • Fair working conditions and lifelong learning opportunities for staff employed in services.

To support its work, EASPD established eight working groups made-up of EASPD members and experts. The Interest Group on Early Intervention was established in 2015, and tries to cover all areas of early childhood intervention services. It’s main goal is to act as a resource to EASPD on all matters with regards to ECI, and to monitor developments at EU level regarding ECI, children’s rights, and respond correspondingly.  The interest group is composed of members, among others, from Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Moldova, Croatia, Macedonia, Austria, Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria.

The main tasks of the Interest Group are:

•            to bring together expertise to link EASPD’s policy and research pillars;

•            to follow-up in a pro-active way the relevant issues at European level;

•            to act as a rapid reaction force and as a spokesperson for EASPD towards the EC, if mandated to do so by the EASPD Board;

•            to assure the information flow on topics that are identified as important at national or regional level and require more European-wide attention (or the other way around);

•            to commit to these tasks, relying on the 3 pillars Impact, Information and Innovation

Through this ECI interest group, comprised of carers, parents, ECI service managers and researchers, EASPD has been actively working on early intervention. The EASPD Statement on early childhood intervention laid out the foundation of we consider is an adequate ECI service, and serves as the basis for our policy work.  These principles have been implemented in several European projects to improve inclusive education systems across Europe, such as the projects Pathways to Inclusion, INVESTT, TIDE and ALDO. EASPD and its interest group has also organised a training on early childhood intervention, “Play, Grow, Learn Together” to raise awareness and understanding of the needs and challenges of successful ECI services. EASPD is also a member of the European Alliance for Investing in Children bringing together 24 European networks.

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