2018 Presenters' Bios

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See also the full schedule (via teamup.com).

Tim Rhys

Presenting: "Quiet Hands": Challenging Stereotypes & Raising Awareness Through Theatre

Tim is a playwright & scriptwriter, who also lectures in Creative Writing at Cardiff University. This is his second play about autism, the first, ‘Touch Blue Touch Yellow’ challenged the stereotype of autistic people lacking empathy and not needing close human relationships, which was inspired by his own autistic son. He is passionate about the rights of autistic people and the need to challenge the sometimes harmful stereotypes about autism. His short film Half Life won the award fir Best UK Short Film at the Manchester International Film Festival and he has written one full length feature film, Crow.

Catherine Curtis

Presenting: Working under the influence of autism

Catherine is autistic, an employability lecturer and an experienced trade union representative at a further education college, specialising in equality and disabilities. Between her work and supporting her union members, she is a mother and she loves to study. She finds herself a perpetual student, holding postgraduate qualifications in education, autism, computing and political science. Her politics dissertation explored the construction of the terrorist identity within British print media. She hopes to investigate at doctoral level the experiences of autistic employees and their reasonable adjustments.

Dr Claire Evans-Williams and Dr Damien J. Williams

Presenting: The inclusion of autistic needs in the pursuit of holistic health

Claire is a practicing Chartered Consultant Clinical Psychologist, having studied at the Universities of Strathclyde, Cambridge, and Glasgow. Her specialty is adult autism and mental health. She received her autism diagnosis at the age of 32 and has since dedicated her time to developing a community organisation - The Autism Academy UK (TAAUK) - which aims to support and empower the autistic community. Her husband, Damien, is a Chartered Psychologist with a specialty in Public Health. His passion is working within the area of (mental) health promotion. He is academic advisor to TAAUK.

Joanna Ławicka

Presenting: Separate development paths - way to mutual understanding and social inclusion

Joanna Ławicka, PhD social science, special educator. President of Prodeste Foundation, the first Polish organisation that promotes neurodiversity, acceptance and full empowerment of people on the spectrum. Author of popular in Poland book "I'm not an alien. I have Asperger syndrome" and a lot of articles, chapters in other books. Regularly performs at major conferences, including international ones. In 2016, she represented Foundation at XI Autism-Europe Congress. Privately a person with Asperger syndrome and mother of three daughters.

Nat Titman

Presenting: The elephant in the room

By day, Nat is paid to build web applications. By night, they attempt to find the time, energy and focus to produce fan art, filk music, podcast episodes, YouTube videos, comics and basic self care. Sometimes co-host of the Autistic Flappy Hour podcast, creator of the Practical Androgyny blog, one time ‘early’ asexual community organiser, occasional neurodiversity blogger, former Doctor Who fandom podcaster, burnt out activist. Nat is multiply neurodivergent with hidden disabilities.

Ken Richman

Presenting: Autism and Interpersonal Ethics: Who can we blame when things don’t go well?

Dr Kenneth A Richman is a professional philosopher and bioethicist with multiple autistic family members. He has been writing, teaching, and leading workshops on ethics for over 20 years. Ken is the author of Ethics and the Metaphysics of Medicine (MIT Press), and multiple academic publications about autism and ethics. He works in Boston, where he is Professor of Philosophy and Health Care Ethics at MCPHS University (previously known as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences). His work has been supported by the Miriam Foundation, an autism services organisation in Montreal, Canada.

Maqqi Mucoi Amolngatti Âû

Presenting: Exploring the Art of Stimming

Maqqi grew up in a neurodiverse family, self-identified as Autistic in 1980, and received a clinical confirmation in 1998.

They have supported neurodiverse students for over 30 years at secondary and third level, mostly assisting Autistic, Dyslexic & ADD students.

They have worked as a leader with Âutistic ûnion since 2014, and is engaged in establishing an Autistic advocacy organisation and StimFest Autistic summer festival in Ireland.

Maqqi has researched stimming for several years and given short talks and workshops on the topic. They believe stimming is central to understanding the Autistic mode of being.

Kalen

Presenting: Formal diagnosis

Kalen is involved in autistic community and research in various capacities, with Autistica, the National Autistic Taskforce, autism@Manchester, Autscape, and hopefully soon as a PhD student.

Kalen traces her love of containers and categories back to her childhood collection of cardboard boxes. This has developed into an affection for containers of all kinds, including the metaphorical ‘boxes’ used to categorise people, such as personality types and diagnoses. Kalen grew up unaware of her early autism diagnosis until she rediscovered it for herself by reading the DSM looking for answers.

Kalen lives in the English countryside with an assortment of children and pets, some of whom are also autistic.

Cos Michael

Presenting: Why do we disappear as we grow older?

Cos is an autistic consultant and writer, specialising in autism and ageing. She is a consultant on the Autism Spectrum, Adulthood and Ageing Project at Newcastle University. For some years, Cos led NAS's Autism and Ageing projects. Now she speaks in the UK and internationally, last year to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Published work includes "Why we need research about autism and ageing" in the journal "Autism"; and a chapter, "Listen to the experts: autistic adults tell us what they need". In "Autism Spectrum Disorder in Mid and Later Life”.

Larry Arnold

Presenting: Exclusive inclusion, what divides our communities?

Dr Larry Arnold has over 45 years experience of disability advocacy and campaigning. As an autistic person, he has sought the greater inclusion of autistic people in autism charities and in further education and academic research. He is an established presenter and public speaker with experience of addressing both autistic and mixed autistic/non autistic audiences.

John Binns

Presenting: Negotiating Terms for Inclusion

John Binns is a partner in a London law firm, who was diagnosed around 5 years ago (aged 40) along with his son (now 10). He has positive experience of negotiating at work on behalf of clients, and less positive experience of negotiating at home on his own behalf. He presented at Autscape last year on 'functioning' labels. His special interest is Doctor Who.

Olivia Pountney

Presenting: Untangling the knots of neuroqueer intersectionality

Olivia is an a autistic transgender service user who identifies as queer. She is involved in the autistic advocacy movement in which she holds the belief that autistic people should be the ones leading the conversation around autism and autistic people, rather than parent/professional lead organisations who currently dominate it. She has served and continues to serve on the committee of many autistic user led projects and organisations including Autistic UK.

Serena Hasselblad

Presenting: The acceptance/inclusion of non-autistics by autistic groups

Serena Hasselblad has a master's degree in civil engineer and a doctor's degree.

At the age of 40 she discovered that she was autistic. From there on she has studied autism and worked with many different groups of autistic people. She is today a project leader, coach and educator in autism.

Ysabel Clare

Presenting: Overtone chanting for self-soothing and sensory seeking

Ysabel Clare teaches performance skills, specialising in acting, voice, and presentation. She works as an independent coach and dramaturg, and has taught at Goldsmith’s for 16 years. Her academic research is on the unconscious cognitive structures of acting/pretending. In her voice work, she is a sensory seeker, using non-traditional exercises such as overtones and chi gung. These encourage students to focus on inherently pleasurable sensations, which they are more likely to practice than conventional exercises. Incidentally, the benefits of deeper breath, clearer tone, fuller resonance and increased confidence are quickly achieved without having to think about it.