2020 Presenters' Bios

Updated 10 Mar 2020

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Elaine Chapman and Carissa Smith

Presenting: Infinite possibilities: The Power of Connection

Elaine Chapman is a library assistant with TU Dublin. She is passionate about accessibility and has given presentations to libraries on the benefits of hiring disabled staff.
Carissa Smith is a student with TU Dublin. She was nominated as the Eir Disability Champion in 2017 in a national contest.
Both caused the creation of the Ability Network in TU Dublin, which aims to unite disabled staff and students and also give them a voice in the institution.

Fergus Murray

Presenting: Making sense of autism: Monotropism and the mind as an interest system

Fergus is an autistic science teacher, activist and writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Their background is in physics and philosophy, but they seem to have wandered into more chemistry and psychology in recent years.
They are the offspring of Dinah Murray, another autistic activist and free-ranging scholar, who worked with Wenn Lawson to devise and refine the theory of Monotropism.

Heta Pukki

Presenting: EUCAP: New opportunities through international cooperation

Heta self-identified as autistic and joined autistic people’s online communities in the late 1990s, and was diagnosed a few years later. She has had various roles, in Finland and internationally, as NGO activist, translator and writer, project worker, event organizer and personal assistant, with a long-term interest in autistic people connecting across cultural and language boundaries. Heta is currently Chair of the Board at both the Finnish association for autistic adults and EUCAP, the European umbrella organisation for autistic people’s organisations. She has a degree in biology from a Finnish university, and one in special education from the University of Birmingham.

Jody O'Neill

Presenting: What I (don't) know about autism

Producer/director of the play "What I (don't) know about autism" which is currently running in Dublin. (full bio TBA)

Laura Sommer

Presenting: “But I could have told you, Vincent”: Critical consumption of harmful narratives

Being from and living in Heidelberg, Germany, Laura Sommer became an honorary Autistic Paddy® in August 2018. This is their first talk at an autistic event. They are 32 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; Sherlock Holmes.

Leneh (Kalen)

Presenting: Autistic Inertia

Leneh is involved in autistic community and research in various capacities, with Autistica, the National Autistic Taskforce, autism@Manchester, Autscape, and as a research student.
Leneh suffers from severe 'inertia' that may be related to the movement disorder, catatonia. She is currently studying autistic inertia for her PhD.
Leneh lives in the English countryside with an assortment of children and pets, some of whom are also autistic.

Margaret Link

Presenting: Connecting with kindness to our autistic selves through somatic movement

Margaret Link is an ‘ORIGINS’ Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator (SOMETI) with over 25 years professional practice in the healing arts (Shiatsu, Yoga, Macrobiotics). She offers one to one sessions, weekly groups and workshops holding sacred space to explore, integrate and embody newfound somatic awareness. She incorporates the body map of the meridian system and philosophy of Oriental Medicine with her somatic inquiry into Embryology, Developmental Movement Patterns and Reflexes, Experiential Anatomy, Authentic Movement and Attachment Theory. Margaret holds a MA in Women Studies, a BA in Community Education and Development and has worked in both fields.

Martijn Dekker

Presenting: How we got this far: A history of autistic space

Martijn is a 46 year old father of three who divides his life between the Netherlands and the UK. He was diagnosed autistic in 1995 at age 21 and was actively present in online autistic space from then on. In July 1996, he started running the first entirely self-hosted online autistic community on the internet: InLv (Independent Living on the Autistic Spectrum), which lived until 2012-ish. He has also done conference presentations on autism and autistic community themes in various countries over the years. He has served on the board of Autscape since 2006 and is currently chair.

Stuart Neilson

Presenting: Barriers to primary healthcare and mental health support in the autism community

Dr Stuart Neilson lectures and writes about autism as a health statistician and his perspective of an autism diagnosis at 45. He was a founder member of the team that developed the innovative Diploma in Autism Studies at University College Cork, Ireland. He has a degree in computer science and a doctorate in mathematical modelling of fatal disease. Stuart's most recent publications include “Living with Asperger syndrome and Autism in Ireland”, “Painted Lorries of Pakistan” and a chapter on sensory issues and social inclusion in the anthology “Knowing Why: Adult-Diagnosed Autistic People on Life and Autism”.

Yo

Presenting: The other half [provisional title]

(Provisional; to be updated) Yo is Autistic. She is a trainer and consultant who works across the English public sector with specialisms in autism and law. She creates and delivers high level training on the legal framework of adult social care and specialist autism courses for education and social care professionals in many English local authorities and other clients. She has a thorough and up to date working knowledge of public law and public sector practice issues affecting autistics both with and without intellectual disabilities.