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Aspergon | Civic Europe
Social inclusion


Job coaching for people with Asperger’s Syndrome and high functioning autism


Who is behind this?

Maria Iliopoulou

Hellenic Association for Asperger's Syndrome and high functioning autism (HAAS)



Idea pitch

Society has chosen to marginalize people with Asperger’s Syndrome, instead of taking advantage of their specific characteristics that would consist special assets for some businesses sectors. Who wouldn’t care for employees with attention in detail, honesty, perseverance with accuracy and results? “AspErgon” aims coaching people with Asperger’s Syndrome to integrate and sustain a job, and simultaneously raise awareness and support employers to make this possible and in favor of their goals.

Where will your project idea take place?

Aspergon will take place in Athens, Greece; results and technique will be diffused internationally.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

In Athens, Greece people with Asperger’s Syndrome are discriminated and socially excluded. There isn’t any initiative, public nor private, which is acting to support them. Society knows very few about this Syndrome, and it is taken for granted that their position is to be hidden in their houses, unable to work and support themselves. In Athens, there isn’t any mechanism to track them and keep data, nor any organization who could support them and adapt best practices from other countries in order to achieve social inclusion. The right to work as a continuance to their right to be educated should be protected and cultivated in the Modern Greek democracy. Unfortunately people with Asperger’s Syndrome are not even separately distinguished in order to favor from positive distinctions.

Who are you doing it for?

The main beneficiaries of Aspergon will be the people with Asperger and high functioning autism who will be supported to find and keep a job. This will have results in many levels. First they will gain a life, really similar to more people of their age, despite their special characteristics, they will be economically independent and able to plan their future according to their dreams. As a result their families can flourish this effort instead of only having to help them and keep them inside the house or in institutions. Employers will also gain really hard-workers, loyal employers, people with special assets for their businesses. However the biggest target group affected will be Greek society in general, incorporating people exercising their right to work and diminishing discrimination.

How do you plan to get there?

The Aspergon project is divided in three main pillars. The first pillar is to attract beneficiaries through the association networks and begin social and economic empowerment to them and their families when needed (job-coaching phase). The second pillar is to attract and establish a network of a group of companies which will be trained of how they can employ and benefit from their cooperation with people with Asperger’s Syndrome (companies’ network). The third pillar is to begin the match- making and follow up the everyday life, intervening when problems occur. It is proven that many times small problems, easily solved, can help people with Asperger’s Syndrome to continue their work - for example change the position of their desk (combat misunderstandings).

What are the expected results?

A permanent Asperger's support mechanism will be created.
The specific technical knowledge and personal skills of people with Asperger that will participate in the program, will be improved.
An evaluation of the qualitative characteristics of this population will be recorded, in order to plan and organize future interventions, as vocational training with real impact in their lives.
Many companies will be informed about the advantages of diversity within their company and how can affect the performance and the image of their business by employing people with Asperger’s syndrome.
A large part of the population will have been informed about the capabilities of these people and the work of the Association as well.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

“Aspergon” aims to coach and support people with Asperger and high functioning autism to succeed to exercise their fundamental right to work, therefore provide economically independence to them. This is not a given in the current situation. They will become pioneers and a change of paradigm in a society who is struggling to accept marginalized socially vulnerable groups. They will have a voice, they will be ambassadors of the evolution. Democracy will be “implemented” and active citizenship will be cultivated, not only for them and their families, and the businesses involved, but also for the Association. This success will prove that an association of people, standing together for one purpose can bring results and achieve human rights’ implementation for all.

Why is this idea important to you?

The Hellenic Asperger's Syndrome Association was founded by parents and friends of people with Asperger. We have all lived with children, husbands, wives or parents who have Asperger’s Syndrome. We have supported each other through the years, and gradually succeeded to have a voice and cooperated with municipalities and the government so that our voice will be raised and heard. Now our children are young adults and they should have the right to work and be included in the society. We know their talents, their sense of humor, and their capabilities, therefore we know they can be included in the work field and we can all benefit from that. We, as pioneers, once again, will show the way for future families like ours in a democratic and pluralistic environment to feel equal and included.

€ 48000,-

Total budget

€ 48000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

travel expenses 2000
admin - back office 6000,
seminars 6000
coaching - mentors 14000
scientific committee 8000
evaluation 4000
community engagement 2500
website 1000
information material 1500
handbook 3000

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would love to hear about projects and ideas which are designed for people with Asperger’s Syndrome. We are open to any ideas for improvement or suggestions to scale up our effort. It would be helpful if you know any company who has supported vulnerable groups in order to share our swot analysis.


Maria Iliopoulou




Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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