The Association of Parents, Guardians and Friends of people with Autism, county of Rethymno, was founded in 2007 based at Pigi, Rethymno and since 2013 is a certified service provider for people with disabilities. It is the only active parents’ association that provides support and education services to disabled people in the county of Rethymno and has approximately 200 members. Since 2012 the association runs a Creative Employment Centre for disabled children which is hosted at hospital facilities (Centre for Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, 23 Papanikolaou Street). Through the Centres the Association provides immediate intervention and support to problems involving children with autism in the family, in the school context, in health and in social welfare. The Association deals with all age groups of people with disabilities and aim at education and early intervention, as well as for the quality of adult living.
Within the framework of the 3rd cycle of the "Points of Support" programme, the initiative “Building Bridges of Cooperation” has been completed; it aimed at promoting occupational integration of people with disabilities into the prefecture’s local businesses, improvement of the attitude of local and business communities toward people with disabilities, as well as the implementation of supervised job placement of people with disabilities in businesses in the prefecture. This initiative included 4 sub-activities, starting with the creation and distribution of questionnaires aiming to record the attitude of local institutions and businesses in regard to occupational support of people with disabilities and mapping their employment opportunities in the prefecture. Based on the data obtained, informational and raising awareness seminars were designed and conducted by professionals established in the field of special education and mental health, with experience in occupational integration of people with disabilities. As part of the seminars, information about employment possibilities were provided, successful examples of social and occupational integration of people with disabilities were presented, and the attitude and knowledge of the local business community before and after the seminars were explored.