Training Opportunities for Peer Supporters with Intellectual Disabilities in Europe

Many adults with intellectual disabilities only have limited access to education and training. When programmes exist, the trainers are mostly people without intellectual disabilities. The TOPSIDE project addressed this issue by developing a programme which prepares adults with intellectual disabilities to provide support and training to their peers. 


The objective of this programme was twofold: offer new training opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to reinforce their basic skills and create employment and volunteering opportunities for trained peer supporters.  


The TOPSIDE+ project built upon the TOPSIDE project by 

  • increasing the number of teaching methods shared on its online database 
  • involving people with intellectual disabilities more systematically, for example by creating an easy-to-read curriculum 
  • developing policy recommendations on the topic of peer support 


Project website 

Read our articles on the TOPSIDE and TOPSIDE+ projects. 

Implementation Period  2011 – 2013 & 2014 – 2016 
Financed by  European Commission – under the “LifeLong Learning“ and “Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices” Programmes  
Project Coordinator  Inclusion Europe 
Project Partners  Adapei 

Enable Scotland



Pentru Voi 





Pilot courses of the TOPSIDE programme were run in Czechia, Finland, Romania, Spain, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. 


Project partners also produced a number of publications, namely:





  • Material for peers, which contains examples of portfolios that training participants kept to remind them what they have learned 


TOPSIDE trained people with intellectual disabilities

to support other people

with intellectual disabilities.


We developed a training programme.


With the programme, people with intellectual disabilities can:

  • be students and learn new things
  • work as trainers and get work experience.


This project was done

between 2011 and 2013 for the first time.


Between 2014 and 2016 we did it again.

This time we called it TOPSIDE+,

and more people joined.