2015 Presenters

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


  1. Kabie Brook
  2. Damian Milton
  3. Martijn Dekker
  4. Helen Kirk
  5. Kalen
  6. Hannah Ebben
  7. Caroline Hearst
  8. Yo
  9. Sharon Jeffreys and Mel Bruce
  10. Heta
  11. Catriona
  12. (Name removed at presenter's request)

2015 Presenters' Bios

Kabie Brook

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

Kabie has 25 years experience working with and for Autistic people of all ages.

Cofounder and current chairperson of ARGH, a collective advocacy, lobbying and campaigning group run by and for Autistic adults, Kabie is part of the Scottish Government Autism Strategy Governance Group as well as being involved with national and local organisations including Inverness Access Panel and as a community advisor for Police Scotland.

Kabie also has experience of organising and speaking at events, including training workshops for parents and practitioners and is particularly interested in pan-disability engagement, intersectionality and 'Autistic' as political identity.

Damian Milton

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

Damian is currently studying for a doctorate at the University of Birmingham. He is a member of the programme board for the Autism Education Trust, and a member of the scientific and advisory committee for Research Autism. Damian works for the National Autistic Society as Head of Autism Knowledge and Expertise (Adults and Community) and as a researcher for London South Bank University. Damian’s interest in autism began when his son was diagnosed in 2005 as autistic at the age of two. Damian was also diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2009 at the age of thirty-six.

Martijn Dekker

Presenting: A history of early autistic space

Martijn (rhymes with 'design') 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. In 1997, the New York Times dedicated an article to it. He has also done many conference presentations on autism and autistic community themes in various countries over the years. Martijn has been involved in the organisation of Autscape since 2006 and is currently chair of the board.

Helen Kirk

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

Helen regularly partakes in Adult Autism Strategy meetings in Leeds where she continues to campaign for the rights of people on the autistic spectrum. She has a 25 year old non-verbal autistic son and has researched autism for 20 years. Her studies made her aware that mainstream theories of autism such as theory of mind, executive functioning and weak central coherence operated within their own domains and a more coherent and whole picture of being autistic was needed. It should be less abstract and involve everyday concrete experiences. Helen prefers the use of the word autistic rather than autism.


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

Kalen has been involved in Autscape from the start and has presented at many of them. While her expertise lies elsewhere, Kalen's long experience with the autistic community online, within Autscape and in her personal life gives considerable breadth of experience with autistic people.

Hannah Ebben

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

Hannah Ebben is a Dutch Autistic postgraduate student with a background in Cultural Studies. In her research, she uses insights from this field in order to study art and culture on autism and to develop new ways of thinking about the pathologisation of human diversity. Her own identification with the concept of Asperger's Syndrome has had a great influence on this research. In the Netherlands, she has worked in the field of Disability Studies. In the UK, she hopes to continue her work on autism in the academic world and in Autistic advocacy and activism.

Caroline Hearst

Presenting: Autistic inner space

Caroline has been meditating for many years and has attended several silent retreats, although this has not made her a paragon of calm and equanimity, it has definitely helped her navigate the ups and downs of life as an autistic woman and parent. Caroline discovered she is autistic six years ago and having previously trained as an art psychotherapist she now works as an autism awareness educator specialising in offering training to counsellors and therapists. She sits on the council of the National Autistic Society and is the founder and a director of AutAngel, an autistic community interest company.


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

Formally diagnosed in 2001 and with two autistic children, Yo has spent most of her adult life using her skills as a legal geek to figure out how to access public services. She has a PhD in educational research. She now works as a trainer, speaker, consultant and advocate working with both public services and user groups to improve autistic access to public services. Recently: delivering training on the legal framework of the Care Act to local authorities all over England; training and consulting for local authorities and schools on autism; and public speaking on social care and autism.

Sharon Jeffreys and Mel Bruce

Presenting: Keeping a check on your mental health

Sharon is a learning disability nurse and a mental health nurse and is trained to diagnose autism. Sharon used to work as a nurse consultant and is now the head of commissioning for autism and learning disabilities in Lincolnshire.

Mel is a clinical psychologist for children and young people with learning disabilities in Norfolk. Mel leads an intensive support team and is the psychology champion across norfolk.

Sharon and Mel used to work together in Norfolk where they tried to make sure people with a learning disability or autism could get support for their mental health when they needed it.


Presenting: Calming touch: autistic preferences and simple shiatsu techniques

Heta has occasionally received and performed shiatsu massage over the past 25 years as a way to handle tactile defensiveness, stress, tension and health problems stemming from these. On the basis of running workshops and offering short massage sessions at autism events, she has the impression that many of these techniques are particularly well suited to autistic people who benefit from deep pressure but dislike sensations involved in other types of massage.


Presenting: Our natural space

Catriona is a trained qualified western medical herbalist; she has studied autism for years (lived with for life!) completing an MSc exploring issues around diagnosis and intervention in 2004; her PhD, 2011, focussed on girls with Asperger's and anxiety, the findings published in Good Autism Practice, May 2012. She founded Scottish Women with Autism Network, SWAN, with Autism Network Scotland. She has 2 children, one daughter diagnosed in 2005 and she identified herself as autistic soon after. She has presented on females and autism in a variety of settings and regularly leads herb walks and workshops.

(Name removed at presenter's request)

Presenting: Spin - Rock - Express - a drama workshop

(Bio removed at presenter's request)