Thought Provoking Speakers 2017

Tanya Breen

Tanya Breen – What I did in my holidays: The critical Autism studies conference and Autism CRC training on participant research in autism.

Tanya will share highlights from the Critical Autism Studies Conference ‘Travelling Through Autistic Worlds in Policy, Practice and Identities’ (London, June 2017) and the ‘Researching Autism Together Workshop’ run by Autism CRC (Melbourne, June 2017) with a focus on autism advocacy, research, and service/policy development internationally. Tanya is particularly interested in inclusive autism research, where academics, researchers, and autistic people work together to find ways to improve autistic life experiences.
Read Critical autism studies: Making a positive difference.



Estelle Pretorius

Estelle Pretorius – Transitions in the early years

Transitions require becoming familiar with new people, new practices and expectations. As carers, parents, educators and support workers, we are required to support children and young people to navigate through these transitions as smooth as possible.
Read Daily routines support children’s learnings.





John Craven

John Craven – Specialisterne: Seizing the opportunity of autism – a global shift

John will speak on this model and how it is being introduced to New Zealand. He will share the results from recent research on employment experiences of both autistic employees and employers of people on the spectrum undertaken, by Specialisterne and Altogether Autism. Finally, John will advise the next steps for both potential employees and employers seeking to harness the special abilities of autistic talent here in New Zealand.
Read Appreciation and integration in the workforce




Keri Opai – Maori strategic lead at Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui

Keri Opai – What is the Maori word for Autism? Is there such a term?

This topic relates to the conference aim to upskill, educate and raise awareness, and has a particular focus on current and emergent research. Presentation participants will come away with the current Māori translation for autism and an understanding and appreciation of the creative and constructive process for the interpretation.
Read A time and space for Takiwātanga.






Susan Haldane

Susan Haldane – Mind Over Manner: Realising the potential of differently wired minds.

An Applied Theatre Specialist workshop designed to develop the communication capabilities of families and professionals who are in close association with teenagers with ASD.   This year’s topic is “Successful Transitions in home, health and education”. Watch the video for a sneak peak.
Read Mind over manner: empowering our parents to stay buoyant





Emma Goodall

Emma Goodall – Transitioning from disconnected to connected – Interoception

This presentation will look at the findings from 18 months of interoception programmes across a range of educational sites and the positive impacts on autistic students and their connections to self, peers and learning. It will be based on the current and emerging research being carried out by the Department for Education and Child Development in South Australia into best practice to support autistic children and students to connect to themselves, peers and their learning through the use of quality and effective supports that are easy to implement.
Emma Goodall reflects on autism friendly practices in education.



Mary Anne Gill is communications and marketing advisor for Life Unlimited Charitable Trust and a former award-winner journalist.

Mary Anne Gill – Re-designing the website on a shoestring budget

What does an autism-friendly website look like and how can we create it? In this visual and interactive workshop, we want to hear recommendations from autistics, families and professionals that will inform the redesign of the Altogether Autism website on a set budget. Read Empower the system, a parent’s take on transition