17 April - 4 May 2023
At 11am every day throughout Autism Acceptance Week and beyond, neurodivergent students shared their art, poetry and more on the hashtag #DivergentMinds, posted on @NCIRL and shared by DCU and ATU Sligo.
Take a break from work or study for your elevenses, and look inside some divergent minds.
"Am I Disabled Enough" by Sam
"Who Am I" by Lia H James
1-2pm, Tuesday 18th April 2023
Jessica K Doyle is Autistic, Adhd and otherwise Neurodivergent, an Assistant Psychologist at the Adult Autism Practice and a Director at Thriving Autistic. Jessica K is the co-author of The Adult Autism Assessment Handbook. Jessica K is currently consulting on an autism, neurodiversity and relationships project at the Muiriosa Foundation, and is the 2022 chair of the PSI Special Interest Group in Autism. Jessica K is a speaker, writer and filmmaker exploring her own experience as an Autistic adult and her somewhat scenic journey through life as well as exploring theory, research and practice relating to sensory perception and Autistic/ND experience.
Jessica K consults for various organisation and has conducted international research and is a current researcher on several projects with DCU. Jessica K is passionate about exploring Autistic perception and repositioning the lens away from thwarting Neurodivergent authenticity to designing for diversity, fostering growth and committing to universal design.
You can view a recording of this event, which includes a showing of Jessica K’s film, When I grow up I want to be… and the Q&A that followed, moderated by Fiona Earley, Autism Friendly University Coordinator at DCU. Or you can simply watch the film without commentary (approx. 20 min duration) below.
Note, at times the screen goes dark and there is audio only: this is part of the film. Also mentioned during the Q&A is another short informational video by Jessica K on The Autistic Neurotype, or if you prefer to watch the video without background music, please see The Autistic Neurotype (No Music Version).
Jessica also recommends this useful resource on monotropism (a theory of autism by autistic people).
While our events focused on Higher Education, Jessica recommends this book by an Irish Autistic adult, teacher and parent, which would be helpful when guiding autistic children through the transition from primary to secondary school - The Strengths-Based Guide to Supporting Autistic Children.
Another useful resource is Thriving Autistic, which links to an international network of neurodivergent psychologists, therapists, coaches and educators, as well as many free resources, including for families, the workplace and healthcare.
1-2.30pm, Wednesday 19th April 2023
The panel included Amanda Mc Guinness, AsIAm; Miranda Lee Curry, current NCI student; Dr Marc Farbi, Leeds Beckett University, who each presented their advice to educators and then answered questions, moderated by Dr Leo Casey, Director CELL at NCI.
Amanda spoke about her past experiences of attending University as an undergraduate without supports and accommodations in place and her current positive experiences of attending University to undertake a Masters with supports and accommodations that suit her learning style and strengths as an Autistic individual.
Miranda shared her perspective on what autistic students want an educator to know: who is autistic? and working against your internal biases, and the invisible barriers to education.
Based on his experiences from the Autism&Uni and IMAGE projects, Marc talked about how best to support young autistic people during the transition from school into third-level education, and then into employment. His talk is particularly relevant to academics, disability advisors and careers advisors working in a university context.
Following their presentations, a panel discussion was moderated by Dr Leo Casey, Director of the Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning at NCI.
Amanda Mc Guinness is an Autistic Advocate and an Autism & Visual Supports Specialist. She is a Law Graduate currently undertaking a Master of Childhood Speech Language and Communication Needs at University Galway. Amanda is a Training Officer in AsIAm and the creator of the “Auti” character online through her social media littlepuddins.ie, which teaches and educates on Autistic lived experiences. Her areas of specialism include Visual Supports, Autistic Identity & Culture, Autistic Masking, Autistic Communication, and Autistic Lived Experience Education. She has extensive experience supporting Autistic children and their families.
Miranda Curry is a 29-year-old autistic woman currently earning a BA Honours degree in Psychology at NCI. She is originally from Florida, USA, and she moved to Dublin in 2021. Currently, she also works part-time as a Research Intern at the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) at NCI, and she has recently started her work as an Autistic Advocate. Her career aspirations are to work in autism research to improve psychology’s, and therefore society’s, understanding of the autistic mind, to lead to better supports and treatment. As an advocate, she hopes to become a bridge between the research and autistic communities.
Dr Marc Fabri is Reader in Participatory Design at Leeds Beckett University. His research revolves around supporting autistic young people during the key transitions from school into further and higher education, and then into employment. He has led three multinational, European funded projects: Autism&Uni, IMAGE and DesignMyFuture.
You can now view a live recording of this event. During the Q&A, Amanda recommended the books of Dr Luke Beardon, Marc includes links to many additional resources in his slides, which you can access here. Marc briefly referred to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and you can learn more here.
1-2pm, Thursday 20th April 2023
Ollie Bell from ShoutOut spoke about the autistic LGBTQ+ experience, in particular around trans identity and trans rights.
Ollie Bell first got involved with ShoutOut as a volunteer in 2016. They are now working with ShoutOut as their Education Coordinator, after completing their Masters in Community and Youth Work at Maynooth University. They work with ShoutOut's many amazing volunteers and liaise with schools interested in having LGBTQ+ educational workshops Following Ollie’s presentation, Linda Mulligan, Disability and Inclusion Officer at ATU Sligo, will moderate an audience Q&A.
You can watch back this event here. During the conversation, Ollie referenced Belong To (support group for LGBTQ+ youth) and TENI (support group for trans people). Ollie also mentioned that both autistic and LGBTQ+ people can be subject to bullying and abuse. If you have been affected by bullying, this article will be of value to you. Those seeking to assist others or who are themselves living in an abusive relationship can find support here. Ollie also referred to ABA: to learn more, read Statement on Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) - AsIAm. Linda has provided us with a number of other resources.
1-2.30pm, Friday 21st April 2023
Moderated by Marketing Director, Robert Ward (in his role as a member of NCI’s Autism Friendly Campus committee), Peter Brabazon of Specialisterne was joined by Graham Keatley from SAP and Ryan McGinley from Accenture to talk about both the employer and employee experience in attracting and retaining neurodivergent candidates.
You can watch a recording of this event here and you can access the videos that were mentioned during the event below:
Explaining Autism to Young People
- Littlepuddins.ie is a site created by Amanda Mc Guinness, featuring her character Autie, who shares a lived experience of autism.
- Aoife Dooley’s Frankie’s World and Finding My Voice are graphic novels designed for tween to teen readers, following Frankie from diagnosis through school life.
Books on the Intersection of Autism and Trans and/or Non-Binary People:
Books About Autism by Autistic Authors:
Applied Behavioural Analysis and Masking
Organisations Run by Autistic and Neurodivergent People, for that Group: