The Aware Youth Club (PL: “Klub Świadomej Młodzieży – KŚM”) at the Autism Team Foundation was established to bring together young people on the autism spectrum and enable them to act on issues that are important to themselves and their community.
It is an initiative developed in a project by one of our project partners, the Association for Social Cooperatives from Poland.
Conducted by SNRSS, the ‘Accessibility Generator’ project was aimed at developing innovations in the area of increasing accessibility by Innovators – individuals, groups or organisations. Each group, drawing on its experience and activities, identified a problem to be solved for which it had an idea for an innovative solution.
One of the groups just enrolled in the project was the Autism Team Foundation, which has been working since 2016 to improve the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum and their families. This time, they decided to create a solution to support young people on the autism spectrum.
The Conscious Youth Club model was developed in such a way that it could be replicated and implemented in other communities and organisations.

The club, which was set up at the Autism Foundation, can be followed on Facebook: FB/ @klubswiadomejmlodziezylodz. As part of the project, two CSEs were developed and tested in parallel in two cities – Łódź and Włocławek. This activity started in October 2021. The Club continues to operate and develop all the time.
As part of the activity in the Club, young people have the opportunity to create and develop their own micro-innovations, look for solutions to problems and work out the best solutions for themselves. Among other things, the participants of the CSE worked on how to make educational services more accessible. Postulates developed such as the creation of quiet rooms in every school, the inclusion of so-called diversity lessons taught by self-advocates* on the autism spectrum in the core curriculum and the abandonment of the use of behavioural assessments. The demands were presented to the Ombudsman at a meeting in September 2022 as part of the Autism Friendly Schools campaign.

*Self-advocacy is advocacy on one’s own behalf by people with intellectual disabilities.

At all stages of the Club’s work, young people can count on the comprehensive support of coaches, facilitators, mentors, tutors, activists and experts.
Importantly, however, it was up to them – the young people – what direction their activities would take and what solutions they would implement and test.

Based on the experience of testing the Club Model in Łódź and Włocławek, an implementation manual was created as a guide for subsequent users interested in replicating the model in their communities: link

Co-author of Jan Gawronski’s “KŚM” for the role of young community deputy RPD.