Autisme la Garriga is a project created so that a person deeply affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may live their own life like any of us. The centre of the whole activity is the person with ASD; everything revolves around their needs. It is a world tailor-made to them, where they can find their home, their job and where they can enjoy their free time. Everything is thought out for them to feel included, valued, respected in their individuality and needed to the extent of their possibilities.
Autisme la Garriga is the result of an initiative of some mothers and fathers who developed the project in the mid 70’s with a team of experts. Today the services at Autisme la Garriga run 365 days of the year, 24 hours per day, in order to give a comprehensive response to individual needs that all of the attended people and their families have.
From the beginning, the project was conceived for boys and girls to have as normal a life as possible. This required their own spaces and buildings, in order to facilitate mobility, but ones that are independent from one another just like where most of us live: we live in a place, we work at another place, we go play sport in another place and we pass our free time in our home, but also in our outings.
In La Garriga, two modernist summer homes, built at the beginning of the 20th century, have been converted into Llar Cau Blanc and Llar Cottet, 21st century homes for people deeply affected by autism. These homes are surrounded by big gardens, for the boys and girls to freely hang out in, gardens that have become a magnificent therapeutic resource.
The facilities have areas for sport activities and two swimming pools, one covered and one in the open air, for them to carry out various aquatic activities, which is very beneficial to their physical and psychological well-being. They also have their own work, but in another area. Every day they go to work at TERLAB, at the workshops and the agricultural area.
On the same street, in a third modernist building also surrounded by gardens, is the CERAC centre, which offers diagnostic services, counselling and psychosocial rehabilitation for the entire population affected by ASD.
Because it is one of the few international projects that tends to boys and girls deeply affected by ASD, with an associated intellectual disability and behaviour disorders and who thus are difficult to treat, with a high quality of life.The services are specialised for the people most deeply affected by autism.
The concept of the project itself, with large facilities (35,000 m2) and different specialised spaces with therapeutic resources. The boys and girls live in an area, play sport in another area and work in another area. Surrounded by nature, they go out to walk daily in the town and try to live as normal a life as possible.
Family members and professionals share the project, each of them where they need to be, with a singular common goal: to improve the quality of life of people affected by ASD.
With this name, Autisme la Garriga, we want to express the importance of our connection with the town La Garriga, located 40 km away from Barcelona, where day by day we make our project a reality in which the connection with the community is a key factor. The services, which are highly specialised, tend to the population from all over Catalonia and, on occasion, from other parts of the country or abroad.
Our project has always been connected to the associated movement internationally, and especially to Europe, to people affected by ASD. Autisme la Garriga, using its entities, has been a founding member of the associations it has created at different levels.
In 1983 APAFAC became a founding member of Autism Europe, which Fundació Congost Autisme would join in 1984. In 1994 APAFAC also became one of the 4 founding entities of the Federation, currently Confederation, Autismo España, and its chairman was the founding chairman until 2001. In 1997, the entities of our project created the Catalonia Autism Federation and in 1998 they participated in the foundation of the World Autism Organisation.
Thus, it is our philosophy to connect with the world and belong in the community that inspires our project. We work globally and we make our project a reality locally.