2012 Presentations

This page about Autscape 2012 is of historical interest only. Go to the home page for current information.


  1. Vive la difference: does how others describe us matter? (Larry Arnold)
  2. Dating and romance – have more success and less heartbreak (Jay Blue)
  3. How to get the best out of your Dentist (Malcolm Hamilton)
  4. Exploring personal responses to similarity and difference in the context of autistic community (Caroline Hearst)
  5. Support workers: What are they supposed to do and how do I get them to do it? (Josh Hennessy)
  6. Perceptions of diversity and the parent/self-advocate divide (Damian Milton)
  7. Interests, people and autism (Dinah Murray)

2012 Presentations

Vive la difference: does how others describe us matter?

Presenter: Larry Arnold

Description: I intend to start from the idea that although there are probably different ways of becoming autistic through ones genes that the historical ways in which the spectrum has been divided has had little to do with any real differences. I intend to explain how I see that way autism has been defined from the outside has had a lot to do with how we view ourselves and suggest that the divisions between us are often more to do with the way we have reacted to the labels than anything else. For instance, Amanda Baggs has written that the way people define a difference between Asperger’s and Kanner’s autism is often arbitrary and based on personal observation not objective fact. I think this is relevant to the theme and very appropriate for a time when there is a lot of public debate about whether Asperger’s should stay in DSM 5 or not.

Dating and romance – have more success and less heartbreak

Presenter: Jay Blue

Download: Presentation Notes (PDF , 345KB)

Description: What is a relationship and how can I find one? Although autistic people differ from neurotypicals when it comes to communication, a relationship is much more than a set of social rules and regulations – it is not only about shared experiences, it is also about celebrating our oneness and humanity. This workshop will explore and bring awareness to the typical barriers that autistic people may come across in the dating world, including behaviours, thoughts and beliefs about themselves and the world around them and thus gain insight into how to have more success in this area.

How to get the best out of your Dentist

Presenter: Malcolm Hamilton

Download: Presentation slides (PowerPoint format, 1421KB)

Description: This workshop will explore various strategies that can be used to enable those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition attend a dentist more easily. It will outline the different types of dental services that are available. The various adaptations that can be made by a dentist will be outlined. Also discussed will be the information that should be given to a dentist beforehand to allow any possible adaptations to be made. To allow an informal discussion around any concerns attendees may have around visiting a dentist.

Exploring personal responses to similarity and difference in the context of autistic community

Presenter: Caroline Hearst

Description: In this workshop we will use art materials in an exercise especially developed to explore individual feelings about similarity and difference. No art experience or ability is required, and images produced are incidental benefits but not the object of the exercise.
Those who feel comfortable to do so will have the opportunity to share their experience of the exercise with the group.
We will then discuss the nature of some autistic differences and similarities and examine how we accomodate similarities and differences within the autistic community.
This workshop is structured to move from eliciting and exploring personal responses to difference and similarity via an image making exercise to exploring how these responses could help or hinder the development of autistic community (and or political effectiveness / the development of an authentic autistic voice or voices). How the workshop evolves will depend on the participants.
Discussions based on the following questions might develop:
Can we as autistics can capitalise on our differences so that one person’s strengths can compensate for another’s weaknesses?
What difficulties arise in trying to do work together in this way?
Do differences necessarily prove divisive?
Is developing community particularly difficult for autistics because part of the autistic profile is interpersonal difficulties (which could be considered a different way of socialising)?
The workshop will have a maximum of 20 participants.

Support workers: What are they supposed to do and how do I get them to do it?

Presenter: Josh Hennessy


Description: I will give my view of what good support consists in, with a focus on autonomy and independence. I will consider why support workers might fall short of such a standard. I will suggest practical ways an autistic person might help a support worker understand what is required of them, and I will offer some example training materials autistics might like to use or adapt for their own circumstances. I will talk about support workers who are (1) employed directly by the autistic person, (2) supplied by an agency and (3) unpaid family members and friends.
I will NOT cover the following in any significant detail:
How to get support workers in the first place. My presentation assumes that the autistic person already has some support secured.
Supporting autistic children. This presentation is about supporting autistic adults.
Legal issues and technical employment issues. Unfortunately I am not sufficiently expert on these.

Perceptions of diversity and the parent/self-advocate divide

Presenter: Damian Milton

Download: Presentation slides (Powerpoint format, 795KB)

Description: This presentation gives a simple overview of the common ways in which autism is defined, before using a personal case study of a father and son on the spectrum in order to highlight the issues that are raised in the definition of autism, and how these ideas frame common understandings and perceptions. This presentation highlights how although there is great diversity between those on the spectrum, that there is also many potential similarities between those deemed ‘verbal’ or ‘high-functioning’, and those classed as ‘non’ or ‘pre-verbal’ and ‘low-functioning’. This discussion then lays a foundation for an exploration of the political issues and differences in perception and narratives between the diversity of parental accounts of advocacy and those of autistic people themselves.

Interests, people and autism

Presenter: Dinah Murray

Download: Presentation slides (PDF format, 710KB)

Description: There will be active discussion re questions about the idea of minds as sets of interests constrained by variations in the distribution of a scarce processing resource (cf “spoon theory”).
The discussion will begin with me presenting some graphic slides to explain the basic ideas of an Interest model of mind. These often work better than words and will be used to briefly show how various patterns of human thinking caused by changing just one aspect of the overall picture can be portrayed. The discussion will then aim to take one variant at a time for people to consider and talk about together in relation to themselves and other people they know. Some questions on this theme will have been available since the beginning of Autscape to encourage people to think about it. Contributions to the discussion can be made in speech or writing, prepared beforehand or be spontaneous responses.
Hopefully some reasons for quite major differences in what get described as “levels of functioning” will become clearer, as will reasons for thinking that these have little to do with levels of “native intelligence” / IQ.