2015 Presentations

This page about Autscape 2015 is of historical interest only. Go to the home page for current information.

Contents


2015 Lectures

Autistic People's Organisations, creating space for change: a case study

Presenter:
Kabie Brook
Description:
I will use the Autistic People's Organisation ARGH (Autism Rights Group Highland) as a case study to explore the creation of Autistic Space/s as a vehicle for collective action, campaigning, political progress and the journey towards Autistic emancipation. I will include examples of what we do, how we do it and why. I intend to leave participants with a feeling that there is no one 'right' or 'wrong' way of being or doing Autistic spaces through organisational means but rather present a picture of what has been possible for ARGH as an example of one approach.

Beyond reasonable adjustment: autistic-friendly spaces and 'Universal Design'

Presenter:
Damian Milton
Description:
A reasonable adjustment is considered to be an alteration made to enable a disabled person to carry out normative responsibilities, such as the duties of a job role. In practice the idea of alterations to cultural norms often make such adjustments exceptions rather than the rule. In contrast to this, the concept of ‘Universal Design’ (UD) suggests that environments need to be designed to be accessed, understood and usable to the greatest extent possible by people of all ages, sizes and abilities. Rather than making ‘special requirements’ to meet the perceived needs of a specified grouping of people, UD is based on the premise that environments that are accessible, usable, convenient and pleasurable lead to benefits for all. This presentation considers whether the theory of ‘Universal Design’ could potentially help in making the case for why creating autistic-friendly environments could simply be considered as ‘good design’ practice.

A history of early autistic space

Presenter:
Martijn Dekker
Download:
Slides (PDF, 4525KB)
Description:
Autistic self-awareness and autistic space began on the early internet. It was in 1992 that a number of autistics got fed up with being patronised by the parent-dominated AUTISM mailing list and started their own autistic-led Autism Network International list. Back then, starting your own community on the net was virtually impossible for mere mortals, so Syracuse University provided the hosting. In 1996, ANI organised the first Autreat conference, which inspired Autscape. Other online community forms such as live online chatting (#asperger) and an autistic-dominated public Usenet newsgroup (alt.support.autism) appeared soon after, sometimes spurring community and organisation in "3D space" too.
This lecture will give a broad overview, complete with images, demonstrations and anecdotes, of the history of autistic space as it emerged online and branched out into a "real word" social movement from there.

"To Be" or "Not to Be" - an exploration into Autistic Embodiment.

Presenter:
Helen Kirk
Description:
In this presentation we will firstly look at autistic people's experiences of space both inside and beyond their body. The session will reveal a deeper understanding of autistic spatial experience and also looks at how the absence of a concept of time can affect perceptions. I will demonstrate with the aid of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and art how many autistic experiences of space can be issues about existence itself. These are fundamental issues that concern us all as human beings, whether neurodivergent or neurotypical. It is about how we "are" how we "exist" and our perceptions beyond this.

Who's in and who's out? Diversity and acceptance within the autistic community

Presenter:
Kalen
Description:
In order to form a coherent group of our own, we must define ourselves, and any such definition must include some and exclude others. Even within the autistic community, distinctions are made on the basis of autistic traits, diagnosis, intelligence, gender, age, and political ideology. Are these distinctions useful, or do they serve to unnecessarily divide our community? If we expect others to take steps to include us, perhaps we are obligated to do likewise. Or, as a special minority group, maybe it is acceptable for us to be exclusive. On an individual level, some find autistic space to be a welcoming home while others may be disappointed to find themselves misfits among misfits.
In this lecture and associated discussion, we will explore the boundaries and contents of autistic space. In so doing, we may also find ways to make our autistic space more welcoming to those we wish to include.

2015 Verbal Workshops

Autistic beings-in-the-world: Neurodiverse negotiations of space

Presenter:
Hannah Ebben
Description:
The concept of autism has traditionally been described as a preoccupation with the self and a withdrawal from the outside world: 'autism' derives from 'autos', which is the Old Greek word for 'self'. In my workshop, I will problematise this pathologised notion of human deviance by focusing on the body and the space that surrounds the body. In my personal research, I propose new conceptualisations of everyday lived experiences that are predominantly called 'autism'. I argue that these experiences consist of a preoccupation with space and thus of an outwardness to stimuli in the outside world. The word 'autos' therefore needs a substitute. After a short introduction to the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Rosemarie Garland-Thompson, I will invite the audience to develop a choreography of perceiving stimuli and other people. The dance will form an inducement for further thinking about new concepts on neurodiverse movement through space.

Autistic inner space

Presenter:
Caroline Hearst
Description:
One of the most important autistic spaces is inside our heads - how we think about autism and ourselves as autistic affects how we live our lives. Discovering I am autistic has helped me understand myself and meditation has helped me regulate my emotions and feel happier.
This presentation will briefly discuss various views of autism, and how belief in them might affect behaviour. There will be a brief overview of various practises used by and on autistic people to either change behaviour and/or help address challenges.
We will explore the use of meditation to expand the inner space available to us to think and exercise choice. I will offer a short guided meditation and there will be time to discuss the impact of this and other experiences with meditation. Meditation does not suit everybody and is rarely a quick fix; however it can be transformative for long term practitioners.

Getting what you need from public services: understanding and using the law

Presenter:
Yo
Download:
Slides (PDF, 1709KB); Resources (PDF, 200KB); Care Act 2014 eligibility table (PDF, 372KB)
Description:
Autistics can find it very difficult to get our needs met by public services (social care, health, education and other services provided by the state). When trying to access them we typically encounter a very low level of understanding of autism amongst public service staff; inaccessible systems; and confusing communications. Cuts are making the situation even worse.
This workshop will:
  • explain clearly how to find out what the law says a public service should do
  • set out the actions which autistics can take if a public service is not acting lawfully
  • help participants to decide whether it is worth complaining or taking other action
  • support participants in learning how to express their issue clearly and effectively
  • help participants work to improve two way communication between autistics and public services
  • explain what help is likely to be available and where to find it (e.g. advocacy, legal advice)

Keeping a check on your mental health

Presenters:
Sharon Jeffreys and Mel Bruce
Description:
We all get stressed sometimes. For many of us it can be difficult to notice the early signs of stress. This means many people do not notice they are stressed until they are really stressed. This talk uses a simple model called the bucket model to explain how lots of stress can have an impact on mental health and how to notice when the stress is getting higher. This means that people can feel more in control of their mental health.

2015 Hands-on/Practical Workshops

Calming touch: autistic preferences and simple shiatsu techniques

Presenter:
Heta
Description:
Mapping and discussing the participants' preferences: what kind of touch they find calming or threatening, how these perceptions vary depending on situation and the people involved, what types of massage or other physical practices they have found useful. A brief introduction to the techniques involved in simple shiatsu massage: rocking, stretching, pressing with thumb, palm and elbow. Trying out some of the techniques in pairs or, if the participants are not comfortable with this, doing them as demonstrations. Participants could also demonstrate their own favourite techniques or guide the group to try them out.

Our natural space

Presenter:
Catriona
Description:
This workshop aims to create a space for connecting with our natural environment; it is partly lecture, in that it will share information about our relationship with the 'outdoors' space and the medicinal plants growing in the wild as well as in our gardens we can use for our health and well-being; it is partly hands-on workshop as, if the weather allows, we will spend some of our time outside; we will also share some tips on making basic home-made remedies and treats from common household ingredients, offer herbal teas to try and have explained how to make all sorts of nice things using essential oils and herbs.

Spin Rock Express

Presenter:
Jenny Berman
Description:
One of the many natural talents that autistic people have is a gift for acting. This session will be a fun, interactive, empowering drama workshop specifically designed for individuals on the spectrum and through which you will find your inner actor. It will incorporate easy and non-invasive, structured, non-verbal exercises with movement and improvisation, all of which are especially suitable for those who have no experience in acting. All levels of acting experience are welcome.

2015 Poster Presentations

Autism&Uni Project

Presenter:
Heta Pukki
Description:
Autism&Uni is an EU-funded project that is developing ways to support autistic students as they apply for and enter into higher education. Based on a survey and a literature review, the project is designing interactive applications that will allow young students to familiarise themselves with typical challenges experienced by autistic people in HE. A Best Practice Policy guide will be published to support higher education institutions in developing their professional practice.
The poster will present an overview of the current stage of the work on both these goals. Autscape participants will be offered an opportunity to try out prototype applications that will become available by the time of the conference.
Autism&Uni project worker Heta Pukki will be available to answer questions about the poster and to demonstrate the prototype apps, primarily Sat-Sun 13:30-14:30 (other times by request), as well as contribute to the discussion group Autism in adult education: Sharing good practice.