2021 Presenters' Bios

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Aiden Tsen

Presenting: Self-development via engaging with the Autistic community and special interests

Aiden Tsen is 20, receiving his diagnosis at 13. He wanted to give back to the community and so started to volunteer with KEEN London in 2017. He has since dedicated over 650 hours to the charity across a range of roles. For this, he was named Islington’s Young Volunteer of the Year 2018.
Now he gives public talks on autism, having presented for Varna Medical University and KEEN London. He has written for The Spectrum and blogs on aidentsen.com. Pokémon is a lifelong special interest, so he also draws food fusions on Instagram under the username @a.creatsen.

Autism Wellbeing

Presenting: How Sensory Trauma affects how we grow, develop and learn

Emma and Rorie make up two-fifths of our CIC: www.autismwellbeing.org.uk
Emma’s background is in business development and as a registered service manager within social care. She is undertaking PhD research into perceptions of autism and enjoys blogging about being autistic and about wildlife, her lifelong passion.
Rorie’s background is in advocacy and research. He’s interested in understanding better the ways in which non-autistic and autistic people relate to and get on with each other, specifically ways in which they might pool their sometimes disparate resources more reciprocally and so collaborate more enjoyably and more effectively.

Joana Hermann, Marja-Kristina Akinsha

Presenting: Collective Blogging: A Space for Autistic Identity, Community & Advocacy

Joana, Marja-Kristina, and Cír are late-identified, multiply Neurodivergent advocates living in Ireland. Joana studied Political Science and Intercultural Communication. She is passionate about language, culture, and social justice. Marja-Kristina studied Gender Studies, PR, and Political Communication. She is passionate about politics, diversity, and volunteering. Cír is a disabled, trans, queer person who has too many labels to name in a quick bio. They are passionate about mental health, the queer/polyam community, and general activism. Together they have founded AutLoud.ie to share their experiences, ideas, and creative projects, and to advocate for supports, services, and a change in attitude towards neurodiversity.

Jody O'Neill

Presenting: What I (Don't) Know About Autism

Jody O'Neill is an award-winning autistic writer and performer, based in County Wicklow, Ireland. Her work has a strong focus on disability advocacy and social inclusion.
Eleanor Walsh consults on facilitating relaxed performances, autistic representation, and making theatre more inclusive for autistic and disabled people. She is the National Leprechaun Museum's Social Engagement Coordinator, and is a member of Disabled Women Ireland. In the past 12 months she has also performed in the Abbey Theatre’s productions, Dear Ireland and Home Part 1.

Kalen

Presenting: Documenting how Autistic People Grow, Develop and Learn

Karen Leneh (Kalen) Buckle is a co-founder at Autscape as well as a researcher and consultant. She often serves as a ‘translator’ between autistic experts by experience and neurotypical researchers as she speaks the languages of both communities. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Manchester looking at autistic people’s difficulties starting activities (inertia).

Katrine Callander

Presenting: Naturally Connected Neurodiversity

Katrine Callander is a late-diagnosed autistic woman, conducting qualitative research and advocating to increase the visibility and acceptance of the female autistic voice and experience. She has a Masters degree in anthropology and will be commencing a PhD Candidacy in 2021 at the Tizard Centre at University of Kent.
She has worked in various positions as a journalist, editor, researcher and operational director, with a range of volunteering and advocacy roles within autistic forums, anthropological networks and journalistic organisations. In her personal life, she is a proud mother of two neurodivergent children, perpetual list-maker, traveller and passionate walker.

Laura Sommer

Presenting: Struggling for Community - Autistic abandonment experiences in media representation

Being from and living in Heidelberg, Germany, Laura Sommer first attended Autscape in August 2018. They are 33 and currently recovering from burnout. Their special interests include but are not limited to: Autistic self-advocacy, Beatles, biblical stuff, Christmas, Doctor Who, history, leftist/liberation theology, memes, music, pop culture, queer theory and theology, and Sherlock Holmes.

Marie Van Herteryck

Presenting: Peer mentoring into employment as an opportunity for mutual growth

Managing Director of Neurodiverse Self Advocacy (NDSA), Marie is a multi-neurodivergent social entrepreneur, mother and advocate. Since her daughter's diagnosis in 2004 she has been on the journey of learning and discovery that led to her own diagnosis. Having advocated for her daughters as children and then as adults she accumulated a wealth of knowledge, sharing it on social forums. In 2019 she found NDSA and in 2020 became a UK Women in Innovation award winner.

Martijn Dekker

Presenting: The neurodiversity paradigm through the years

Martijn is a 47 year old autistic father of three. He was diagnosed in 1995 at age 21 and was actively present in online autistic space from then on, witnessing the neurodiversity movement in its infancy. In July 1996, he set up the first entirely self-hosted online autistic community on the internet: InLv (Independent Living on the Autistic Spectrum), which lived until 2012-ish. He served on the board of Autscape in various capacities, including chair, programme coordinator and technical manager, between 2006 and 2015 and from 2016 until now.

Mike Roškaňuk [pron. as roshkanewck]

Presenting: Adventor: community and service organization under one roof

Adventor provides safe environment for autistic people to meet; to learn and to teach; to seek support and to help others; to share time, knowledge and willingness for common bringing benefit.

Monique Huysamen

Presenting: Supporting (?) Autistic Adults' Intimate Lives

Monique Huysamen is a critical qualitative researcher with interdisciplinary research interests. Much of her research explores sex work in various global contexts, focusing on questions around men and masculinities, sexuality, neurodiversity, identity, power, race, and class. She is particularly interested in discursive, narrative, participatory, reflexive, and decolonial approaches to qualitative research. She works as a Research Associate in the Department of Social Care and Social Work at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Ruth Moyse and Madge Woollard

Presenting: Happy to disclose? Lessons from ASSP about sharing autistic identity

Dr Ruth Moyse is a late-diagnosed autistic researcher. She recently gained her PhD at the University of Reading, where she worked with autistic adolescent girls to reframe the narrative around their absence from school. Ruth originally trained as a primary teacher and her interests lie in the educational experiences of autistic children and young people, and access to education as a rights issue. She is currently working on several projects, one of which is the ASSP at the University of East London. She is on Twitter @mum2aspergirl.
Madge Woollard has run her own business teaching piano in schools and privately since 1994. She is a graduate of Cambridge University with a BA Hons degree in music and has a PGCE in primary education. She was diagnosed autistic in 2016 at the age of 44. In 2019 she was awarded an Autism-Friendly Business Award for her work teaching autistic students. Madge was a panel member at the recent ASSP webinar and has contributed a chapter to an edited book written for the project. She lives in Sheffield with her wife, who is also late-diagnosed autistic. She is on Twitter @funkiepiano.
Dr Rebecca Wood is a senior lecturer at the University of East London and the Principal Investigator on the Autistic School Staff Project.

Saffron Baldoza and Vera Pudilova

Presenting: Self Advocacy and Emerging Art Forms

Both Vera and Saffron are Youth Patrons with Ambitious About Autism, which has involved co-producing and delivering webinars and representing the Autistic community as experts by experience.
Vera is a biology and GIS student passionate about the environment. Her illustrations are on Instagram @happy_nd_lady.
Saffron is a creative individual, currently finishing her BSc in Accounting. She is a SLAMbassadors regional champion, in recognition of her spoken word poetry. At university Saffron has set up NOVIS, a society for people with autism (for which she was awarded runner up Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion award).

Sonny Hallett

Presenting: Intensifying Connections: some things I’ve learnt about emotions, mine & others

Sonny is a trainee counsellor. They are also a co-founder and current mental health advisor to AMASE (Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh). They produced two reports based on research around autistic people's experiences of accessing mental health support in Scotland, and of autistic people's experiences of counselling. Sonny has trained counsellors and others on neurodiversity, and adapting counselling for autistic ways of being. They are also involved in research around peer support, autistic identity, and belonging. They are particularly interested in how we can build our sense of identity, and the potential power of being in nature.

Spencer Hunley

Presenting: Where Do We Draw The Line: Advocacy Strategy and Tactics

Spencer Hunley is an autistic professional based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. He currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Kansas City League of Autistics, focusing his current advocacy efforts on improving healthcare outcomes for autistics and other neurodivergent individuals, as well as improving communication and collaboration between the autism & autistic communities.
In addition to his autistic advocacy, Spencer enjoys ‘throwing’ (yoyoing), playing board games and produces a podcast called Neurologic (found wherever you listen to podcasts, or at neurologic.libsyn.com). You can find out more about him at https://sites.google.com/view/spencerhunley/main

Stiofan Mac Amhalghaidh

Presenting: Autistic learning and development: functional solutions to celebrate

Stiof is an ageing, flawed, scarred, vulnerable human with 13 cats, and they're okay with that.
Having collected some degrees and a career, they threw it all away to support neurodivergent students and vaguely 'do research' on what has become 'The Munster Model of Autistic Living'.
For kicks and occasional income, they present, teach and write on the Autistic experience from a perspective informed by that model through workshops, training, conferences, social media and blogs.
Currently, Stiof works with AUsome Training as Subject Matter Expert and online trainer, and occasionally updates their Infinite Diversity blog page.