Past Events for Autism Acceptance Week

A list of resources that were identified as useful from issues that arose from panel discussions from previous events can be found below.

6 hands reaching in and resting on top of each other

2024 Event information

2024 marked the first year of the Autism Acceptance Festival, where NCI, ATU, DCU, DKIT, NCAD and CCT worked together to host a series of public-facing events to centre autistic people and promote autism acceptance.


#DivergentMinds Event

A digital exhibition of visual art, poetry, multimedia, film and other creative work took place across the Festival on the social media channels of all participating HEIs and continue until all have been displayed. These were shared at 11am each day, to encourage people to share their coffee break with some neurodivergent creativity.

Search for #DivergentMinds on Instagram, Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). 

Sam Mooney headshot

This year’s exhibition was curated by Sam Mooney (they/she), a queer neurodivergent writer and poet based in Dublin. They recently finished studying an MA in Creative Writing and is currently the VP for Diversity and Inclusion in the student union. Her writing explores what it means to be neurodivergent and the effects it has on one's mental health.

#DivergentMinds Creations 

What I (Don't) Know About Autism

What I (Don’t) Know About Autism

A play by Jody O’Neill
With cast including Eleanor Walsh

Inspired by the writer’s own experience with autism and using narrative, song and dance, this play is a sometimes comic, sometimes heart-breaking look at the world of autism. Performed by a cast of autistic and non-autistic actors, it celebrates autistic identity whilst offering deeper insight and understanding to non-autistic audiences. 

On Sunday 3rd March at 7pm, we invited guests to an exclusive watch party of this play.

On Monday 4th March at 1pm, Jody and Eleanor were interviewed by Fiona Earley, Autism Friendly University Coordinator at DCU, and joined by an expert panel, including Eleanor McSherry (filmmaker and lecturer), Anne Tannam (poet and creative coach) and Lauren Melissa Ellzey (author and @Autienelle on Twitter/X), to discuss both the play itself and the broader topic of creativity and resilience (both generally and specifically in relation to autistic creatives).

Our Panelists

Speakers at Everything I (Don’t) Know About Autism

Speakers at Everything I (Don’t) Know About Autism

Watch Event

A recording of the event can be viewed here.

Other Resources

During the event, Eleanor McSherry highlighted courses in UCC which may be of interest to anyone who wishes to develop their knowledge of neurodiversity:

  • Continuing Professional Development Cert in Neurodiversity in the Creative Industries
  • Continuing Professional Development Cert in Wellbeing Coordination [for the Creative and Film Industries]

These neurodiversity courses are designed and delivered by a neurodivergent team who are academics and arts practitioners. The wellbeing coordination course is designed and delivered by a team of creatives who are also highly qualified individuals, not only in the arts and the creative industry, but they are also immersed in the wellbeing industry.

These courses are supported and funded by Screen Ireland and the Irish Theatre Institute, the last two courses are under the Irish Government initiative of Safe to Create. Please email Eleanor for further details on these courses.

Inclusive Practices in Teaching and Learning at Third Level

Inclusive Practices in Teaching and Learning at Third Level

Facilitated by NCI Professor Leo Casey, Director of the Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning, this session shared positive experiences of both lecturers and students, highlighting things that have worked both in the teaching and the learning practice.  

Our panel members for this exciting event were as follows:


  • Keith Hopper and Elske Rahill, ATU Sligo, the Writing and Literature programme
  • James Garza, CCT, Data Analytics and Computing Lecturer
  • Emer Thornbury, NCI, Computing Lecturer, Computing Support Tutor


  • Brigid MacMurrough, ATU Sligo
  • Cass O’Kelly, NCAD
  • Alexandra Pimentel, DCU

Our Panelists

Speakers at Inclusive Practices in Teaching and Learning at Third Level event

Watch Event

A full recording of the event can be viewed here.

Additional Resources

Autism and the Work Environment

Autism and the Work Environment

Robert Ward, from NCI, moderated a panel about supporting autistic staff in the workplace, and was joined by :

Any autistic person exploring the world of work and/or any employer was encouraged to attend this session: those with questions around reasonable accommodations or the positive impact on a business of active inclusion of autistic staff, had them answered by our expert panel.

Our Panelists

Speakers at Autism in the Work Environment event

Watch Event

A full recording of the event can be viewed here.

Additional Resources

Autism and Health

Autism and Health

Susan Madigan from DCU spoke with Dr Mary Doherty, founder of Autistic Doctors International (ADI) who has written a paper called SPACE about making healthcare settings more autism friendly. The conversation was expanded to include the patient perspective, where they were joined by Brigid MacMurrough, Kayren Hayes and Lindsey Gordon, who shared some of their experiences accessing healthcare.

Our Panelists

Speakers at Autism and Health event

Watch Event

A full recording of the event can be viewed here.

Additional Resources

2023 Event Information

The below events took place during Autism Acceptance Week 2023, 18th-21st April.


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


When I Grow Up I Want To Be

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.

Supporting Neurodivergent Students in the Classroom

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, 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.

Being An Ally As A Student And Peer

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. Linda has provided us with a number of other resources.

The Neurodivergent Talent Pool

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:

Other Resources


Explaining Autism to Young People

  • 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:

2022 Event Information

Explore the events that took place during Autism Acceptance Week 2022 and review the resources gathered from the issues addressed.

Watch Party - Seeing the Unseen

Movie poster for Seeing the Unseen, an Icelandic documentary

7-9pm, Tuesday 26th April 2022

Seeing the Unseen is an Icelandic documentary, sharing the stories of 17 autistic women. The film was then at the centre of Wednesday’s panel discussion (which included Elín Sigurðadóttir, one of the women featured in the film pictured above, alongside Stefanie Preissner and Aoife Dooley).  

Access to view the documentary was provided by kind permission of the film’s Director and Producer, Bjarney Luðviksdottir, specifically to inform NCI/DCU’s panel discussion. For any queries regarding licensing this documentary, contact

Content Advice: 

This documentary details both positive and negative experiences autistic women have had; be aware that the negative experiences include suicidal thoughts and descriptions of bullying (particularly at 22:30 to 26:40), and physical and sexual violence (particularly at 34:34 to 36:58). 


  • Samaritans: If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, phone the Samaritans now on 116 113. You can find further supports here.
  • Spunout: If you have been affected by bullying, this article will be of value to you
  • SafeIreland: Those seeking to assist others or who are themselves living in an abusive relationship can find support here

Women and Autism

Headshots of Elín Sigurðadóttir, Stefanie Preissner and Aoife Dooley

1-2.30pm, Wednesday 27th April

Elín Sigurðadóttir, one of the women featured in Seeing the Unseen, was joined by Stefanie Preissner (writer, podcaster, actress, influencer) and Aoife Dooley (illustrator, author and stand-up comedian), to share and discuss the experiences of autistic women and girls and respond to audience questions. Facilitated by Fiona Early, Autism Friendly Campus Coordinator at DCU.

Aoife Dooley is an award-winning illustrator, author and comedian. She is also a graphic designer and public speaker.In 2018 Aoife was diagnosed as Autistic at the age of 27, She has shared how a diagnosis helped her to truly begin to understand herself and has created comics and diagrams around the subject of what Autism is to her.  In 2020, Scholastic UK acquired rights to Frankie’s World, a graphic novel based on Aoife’s real-life experiences of Autism. It was published in January 2022 and with praise from the Guardian and the Irish Times amongst others, it went to reprint after a month of its release. Frankie’s World is being published by Graphix and will be coming to stores across the US in August 2022.

Elín Sigurðadóttir is a 31-year-old student, who is also a radio amateur and scout, late diagnosed as autistic at the age of 26. She is currently studying Applied Earth Sciences at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands, because she is interested in the technology behind studying natural phenomena. She also happens to like rocks, especially volcanic, but that's a given!  She participated in the movie Seeing the Unseen because she felt like it was the right thing to do, and has since participated in viewings, Q&A's and discussion panels on autism, whenever she has the spoons or gets the chance to. 

Stefanie Preissner is a screen-writer, author and weekly columnist for the Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine. She hosts a popular contemporary podcast Basically…. with Stefanie Preissner and is a regular radio and TV contributor. She was nominated for the 2021 Mental Health Media Awards for her continued work reducing stigma by sharing her own struggles in her newspaper column and podcast. Stefanie is proudly autistic.


  • Spoon Theory: Elín mentioned this theory which is a metaphor for the amount of mental or physical energy a person has available for daily activities
  • Spoon Theory Analogy: An audience member came up with her own way of describing spoons to neurotypical friends
  • Spectrum Women: Stefanie Preissner mentioned finding this book, written by Barb Cook, useful
  • Autistics Ireland Facebook Group: An idea that arose from the event was a space where Autistic Women could gather and share their experiences. The seeds of this idea have been planted, and if they come to fruit, we will add details to this resource page. In the meantime, there is an existing Facebook Group for Autistic Adults in Ireland which you might like to join

Autism in Education

1-2.30pm, Thursday 28th April

Lessons for educators: how can educators help autistic students to thrive in their classrooms and their institutions? What would members of the autistic community wish that people around them in educational and other settings knew?

Laoċín Brennan – Neurodiversity my experience

Headshot of Laoċín BrennanLaoċín was the first GetAHEAD intern in AHEAD, and is now Team Support Officer, a multifaceted role including public speaking on topics such as self-advocacy, the language of disability and the history of neurodivergence. Laoċín founded DCU’s Neurodivergent Society, the first of its kind in Europe. During his time in DCU he won many awards for his contributions to college life, including DCU's President's Award for Student Engagement 2020/21. He is passionate about human rights and takes an intersectional approach. Laoċín became aware of ableism in 2013, upon receiving the first of many diagnoses. Now, he is pursuing a career in disability advocacy with vigour, in the hopes of being the change he wants to see in the world. 

Billy Redmond - Making acceptance happen in education

Headshot of Billy Redmond

Billy is currently Principal of North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School. He also works as a consultant with a number of educational partners such as AsIAm, Irelands National Autism charity where he is supporting the Autism Friendly Schools Project with over 100 schools.  Previously he worked as National Co-ordinator for Teacher Induction (Post-Primary) (NIPT) and as a RDO with the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS). He received his BEd Degree as a Home Economics and Religion and was teaching for 12 years prior to secondment. He has studied at postgraduate level in Guidance & Counselling, School Development Planning, Educational Management and Mentoring, Induction and CPD. 

Ciara-Beth Ní Ghríofa – What I wish people around me knew

Headshot of Ciara-Beth Ní Griofa

Ciara-Beth  was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when she was 14, but has been Autistic her entire life. After building an application to support Autistic people in making and maintaining eye contact in a way that's comfortable for them as a research project, she discovered a passion for using and developing technologies to make the world more accessible to Autistic people. She's now in her final year of a psychology and computing degree in UCC, and is excited to continue advocating for making our society a more accessible one for neurodiverse people. 


Eric M. Garcia: We’re Not Broken

1-2pm, Friday 29th April

Eric discussed themes from his book We’re not broken. Changing the autism conversation, which he describes as a message from autistic people to their parents, friends, teachers, co-workers, and doctors, showing what life is like on the spectrum. It’s also his love letter to autistic people: “For too long, we have been forced to navigate a world where all the road signs are written in another language.”

Eric M. Garcia

Eric Garcia is the senior Washington correspondent for The Independent and a columnist for MSNBC. Previously, he was an assistant editor at the Washington Post's Outlook section and an associate editor at The Hill and a correspondent for National Journal, MarketWatch and Roll Call. He has also written for the Daily Beast, the New Republic, and Garcia is a graduate of the University of North Carolina. He lives in Washington, D.C.


Other Resources


  • Crip Camp on Netflix 
  • Douglas (Stand up) on Netflix 
  • Employable Me on BBC 
  • Spoon Theory
  • Ted Talk: Invisible Diversity: A Story Of Undiagnosed Autism
  • Ted Talk: A Higher Functioning Form Of Autism



  • Can I Tell You About Autism? A Guide For Friends, Family and Professionals written by Jude Welton
  • All Cats Are On The Autism Spectrum written by Kathy Hoopmann
  • The Little Book of Autism FAQs: How to Talk with Your Child about Their Diagnosis and Other Conversations written by Davida Hartman
  • Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century written by Alice Wong
  • But You Don't Look Autistic At All written by Bianca Toeps
  • NeuroTribes written by Steve Silberman
  • The Reason I Jump written by Naoki Higashida
  • Drama Queen: One Autistic Woman and a Life of Unhelpful Labels written by Sara Gibbs

Explaining Autism to Younger People 

  • Dr Stephen Shore: Stephen was diagnosed back in the 50s or 60s and is now one of the leading Educational Psychologists in the field. He discusses how we can have this conversation in an age-appropriate way and build on it over time:
  • Children's Videos about Autism: Rosie King has been an autism advocate since she was a young child. She made this nice short documentary for the BBC and her and her brother's autism
  • RTÉ: The series called Pablo is all written and animated by autistic people and explains the condition. Both the BBC and RTÉ produced this together 
  • Sesame Street: Julia is an autistic character on Sesame Street