2022 Presentations

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2022 Hands-on/Practical Workshops

Connecting through drawing

Thilde Louise Dalager

This drawing workshop investigates how drawing can show us how we constantly are involved in each other's lives and spheres.

This workshop is part of my artistic research project, which uses illustration as a dialogue tool to create drawings that can create various expressions of human interactions to create more awareness and understanding between the neurodiverse and neurotypical people.

The workshop will consist of exercises like blind drawing, making portraits of each other without direct eye contact, and drawing after verbal descriptions and music.

DIY Communication Cards

Laura Sommer
Like many autistic people I encounter situations where I am unable to communicate verbally. So I started creating tiny laminated cards that I can always carry with me to communicate my immediate needs and emotional states and even give people a manual to guide me through meltdowns/shutdowns. In this workshop I would like to instruct participants how to select important information, choose visual aids and eventually make cards of their own.

2022 Verbal Workshops

Interdependence at Work: Self Advocacy and Balance

Saffron Baldoza

22% of autistic adults are employed - compared to 79% of the general population. Through the lens of interdependence, we will examine the key problems in securing jobs and coping in the workplace. We believe the key to success is knowing our rights, self advocacy, and most importantly, striking a balance between the independence of working, and utilising support - i.e. becoming interdependent.

Our workshop will outline what interdependence means before delving into Autism, unemployment, and your rights. We will cover applications, interview adjustments, and the formal support available when at work, before focusing on adjustments your employer can provide. We will also cover personal coping strategies for managing within the workplace.

Finally, we will guide you through creating a simple workplace adjustments passport that can be shared with your colleagues and/or managers. We will also provide a more comprehensive ‘interdependence at work’ toolkit with resources for you to use.

2022 Lectures

Autism as a different value system

Alicja Nocon

Psychology-led autism research has mostly focused on what is ‘wrong’ with autistic people. This negative focus has led to autistic experience being reduced to a list of impairments, without understanding the whole person. However, autism can also be understood as a set of ‘character strengths’: traits, such as honesty, that align with personal core beliefs. Autism can be seen as a different value system.

In this presentation, I will share the findings from my Master’s research into character strengths of autistic adults in the UK. I will introduce the topic by providing history of the Values In Action (VIA) character strengths questionnaire. I will then present the character strengths profile for participants of my research, and discuss how it connects with autistic traits. Finally, I will share how to identify your ‘go-to’ character strengths, and how you can apply this knowledge in practice to promote your wellbeing.

Autism, Race, Ethnicity and the Whiteness of the neurodiversity movement

Marianthi Kourti and Sonny Hallett
From its conception, autism has been a predominantly white and western concept. Even in the development of the neurodiversity movement, autistic people of colour and/or of non-western origins are few and far between. In the UK especially, it is hard to see any concerted efforts to include autistic people from minority ethnic backgrounds in our discourse, while their absence or minimal presence is quite often glaring, even in spaces like Autscape. In this presentation, we discuss how we can move from ‘there should be more minoritized ethnic people here’, to ‘there are a lot of minoritized ethic people here and they have powerful voices enough to shape our dominant autistic rights discourse’. We include our perspectives as autistic minoritized ethnic people, discuss research and practice experiences and offer practical advice on how we, as a community, can create spaces that are inclusive of autistic minoritized ethic activists.

Autistic doctors: changing healthcare from the inside

Sue McCowan & Mary Doherty

Autistic Doctors International (ADI) is a neurodiversity-affirmative peer support and advocacy organisation for medical doctors identifying as autistic. We are also active in research, education and training.

This talk will report on current ADI research, publications and collaborations aimed at improving healthcare services for autistic people. Projects with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons will be discussed, along with research projects in General Practice, including an autism training initiative for GPs.

Autistic doctors are in a unique position to educate colleagues and improve services from the inside. We illustrate healthy interdependence with our highly valued peer support and we model the benefits of open communication between staff, services and users. When we talk about our own barriers to healthcare, our fellow professionals realise that this is a huge issue for autistic people. If we can’t access care, who can?

Finding Employment as an Autistic Jobseeker - Employers Need You!

Tom Marchant
  • The autism employment gap
  • Challenges autistic job seekers face
  • Autism/neurodiversity - new on the D&I agenda
  • How employers benefit from neurodiversity
  • Case studies (auticon, EY, Auto Trader, Deutsche Bank, et al.)
  • The recruitment landscape (job boards and when to avoid them, wording in job adverts, interviews and reasonable adjustments, behaviours of recruitment agencies)
  • Disclosing your diagnosis
  • Job search support (charities, governmental, employment programmes, specialist agencies, local recruitment agencies, Access to Work)
  • In work support (reasonable adjustments, workplace adjustments, assistive technology, job coaches, awareness training for employers)
  • Key resources print out for attendees to take home
  • Q&A (if enough time)

Physical Activity and Older Autistic Adults: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why

Erin Muladore
Autistic adults have high rates of adverse physical and mental health outcomes. The role of regular physical activity (PA) in health and wellbeing is firmly established for the general population. Research about factors that enable autistic adults to engage in PA, as well as barriers to participation, remains scant. Older autistic adults in particular are almost entirely excluded from this area of investigation. In this presentation I will (1) explore what is currently known about why PA is important for older autistic adults, (2) discuss ideas for reducing barriers to PA among older autistic adults, (3) consider how autistic adults can help each other be involved in PA as we age, and (4) invite autistic people to think about PA as a lifelong means of caring for ourselves and celebrating our autistic way of being.

The adult PDA community's self-care

Sally Cat

This is a guided tour of the little-known world of adult PDA.

Viewers will be introduced to the complex "geography" of our little-known, and largely uncharted neurotype.

The tour takes in many features of PDA that are invisible from a distance. These lesser-known features include internalised presentations where meltdowns are instinctively contained.

We see how PDA is frequently attacked from outside (including by members of the wider autistic community) because they don't "believe" in PDA; and may actually view our existence as a threat.

We'll then see how the support we give each other can literally be life-saving. Online adult PDA groups are oases, which resound with "me too!" moments, and practical understanding of the pressures we face.

By working together, we have managed to find self-respect and initiate much-needed research to prove to doubters that PDA is real.

Understanding Autistic Play: Challenging the Neuronormative Lens

Kabie Brook

Observation of child / parent play can often be used by social workers and clinicians in ways that may lead to life changing decisions. However, we know almost nothing about how autistic parents interact with their children, nor how this is interpreted by practitioners.

As an autistic parent myself I have been criticised by professionals who viewed my play with my own autistic children as being strange or not play at all.

My lecture will examine the pitfalls and negative outcomes of viewing autistic play through a neuronormative lens, share what I’ve learnt so far from autistic parents that I’ve interviewed and reflect upon what this means for us as a community.

Working together with autistic parents I believe we can go some way to further understanding of this underrepresented group and make a positive change to the day to day realities of accessing services and receiving support.

Working together globally to amplify autistic voices

Heta Pukki
From December 2021 to April 2022, a number of autistic people from five continents worked together as an ad hoc committee, the Global Autistic Task Force on Autism Research, to respond to the article 'The Lancet Commission on the future of care and clinical research in autism'. This collaboration resulted in an open letter and an article that was submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. This presentation will describe some of the challenges encountered during this process, as well as solutions. The possibility and potential benefits of similar future projects will be discussed, and the audience will be asked to contribute ideas.