Who We Are: Associação QE, Uma Nova Linguagem para a Incapacidade, is a registered charity (IPSS) located in Abrunheira, Sintra, for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) aged 16+. It is set in a 15.000sqm complex, which includes two homes, learning facilities, P.E. building, and 10.000sqm of gardens and green areas that give this centre an outstanding quality. The goal of QE is to be more than a school. QE is a life experience, and “a life simulator”, in which each client is treated as an individual. Our major purpose is to develop our clients’’ autonomy, regardless of their level of special needs or skills. We believe they all have a development potential, and our intent is to help each person create and develop specific life projects.


  • 2003 Start of project idea from a group of parents and friends of people with intellectual disabilities;
  • 2004 Starting the project with the founding of the Quinta Essência, Lda, planning designing, and building partnerships;
  • 2005 Construction of infrastructures, licensing;
  • 2006 Open pedagogical pole and residences;
  • 2009 Constitution of QE Association and obtaining the status of IPSS;
  • 2010 First Cooperation Agreement with the Institute of Social Security (17 Non- Residents, 12 Residents);
  • 2012 Expansion of Cooperation Agreement (17 Non-Residents, 18 Residents);
  • 2013 Expansion of Cooperation Agreement (65 Non-Residents, 21 Residents).

An Innovative Pedagogical Model: Gentle Teaching

Our work is based on the Gentle Teaching method, a psychology of human interdependence, which postulates that learning is primarily based on the relationship established between teacher and student that promotes the development and acquisition of new skills. We believe this is a fundamental pre-requisite for any human being to progress and feel good, secured, valued, and loved. And once this relationship is created we take the next step – establishing an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Centre for Developmental Activities:

  • Workshops and Projects: In order to promote our students’ personal development by means that stimulate their emotional/affective, social, physical, and cognitive skills, these curricula are developed within the scope of the following workshops, simulators, and external activities: Arte & Descoberta (Arts & Crafts workshop); ComunicArte (Computers, communication, and cognitive and sensorial stimulation workshop); Espaço Movimento (Body motion, Drama, Relaxation, Psychomotricity, and Special Gymnastics workshop); JardinArte (Greenhouse and gardening workshop).
  • External Activities: We don’t want to restrict developmental activities to our premises. Other activities held in different venues include: horseback riding (Clube Dom Carlos), swimming (Piscina Municipal de Sintra), dance, snoezlen, gymnastics, springboards, sailing and rowing.
  • Professional Simulators: We have several professional simulators for the students who are enrolled in a professional curriculum: Food Industry and Trade, Garden Maintenance, Agricultural and Animal Production. The goal is to train and teach social and professional skills enabling our students to a transition to professional experiences in the community. The simulators are developed in partnership with companies from different areas of expertise who collaborate and oversee the development of QE students’ socio-economic skills.
  • Experiences of Social And Professional Integration: The QE Association believes that all customers, regardless their level of autonomy, should have the opportunity to be included socially, seeking the principle of inclusion. In this regard we promote a range of activities - experiences of social and professional integration (ESPI) with local companies and institutions. Partnerships with companies or institutions enables the integration of our customers in existing services in the local community. These ESPI are adapted according to personal needs and characteristics of each customer, contributing to their socialization in contexts that extend beyond the premises of QE Association. Customers can test their social, communication and relational skills, and develop a social network of support.


A house is made of bricks. A home is made of love. QE has two homes with 24h supervision accommodating 12 people each. These homes were planned to ensure a true family environment and simultaneously a total respect for the privacy of each resident. There are 23 people living full-time in the homes currently. The Residence’s main objectives are:

  • To promote the highest level of independence, providing just the right level of support that each person needs to achieve their daily activities;
  • To stimulate personal and social development through means that enhance and extend the capabilities of every client;
  • To promote the sense of responsibility, respect and mutual support in an environment close to a family model;
  • To encourage events and experiences able to create and reinforce social network.

The QE Association is a member of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People in Western Sintra and Executive Core Social Commission of the area.

This placement will accept three interns.


MISSION: Supporting clients in their personal and social autonomy activities, both inside and outside Associação QE.


  • To promote with the clients, at each moment, the highest level of autonomy possible.
  • To foment community life, with reponsibility and mutual respect.
  • To encourage events and experiences able to create and reinforce clients´ social network.
  • To support clients in their daily activities.


  • Basic notions about intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
  • Strong desire to be a part of Associação QE community.
  • Willingness to develop new and authentic relationships with Associação QE clients.
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