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THRIVING & AUTISM

preparing for success in adulthood

About

Date: Thursday 30th April 2020
Registration: 8:15am
Venue: The Poseidon Hall, AX Seashells Resort, Dawret il-Qawra, Saint Paul’s Bay

Cost: €50

 

This one day conference explores the importance of preparing children with autism to have successful and fulfilling lives in adulthood.

It will take us on a journey which starts with early intervention and moves on to school years. It addresses issues such as autism and girls, sexuality, mental health, parenting as well as employment. The conference will draw on the personal and professional experience of autistic people and those working in the field and will be valuable to all stakeholders – from persons with autism to parents as well as professionals working directly with the autistic community.

Should you wish to attend, please register by filling out this form. For group bookings, please contact us on paula.doumanov@inspire.org.mt. A certificate of attendance will be issued to all participants on the day.

Register Here

Conference Speakers

PROF RICHARD MILLS
10 Rules on How to Be a Bad Employer

A Consultant Associate for AT-Autism, London, Research Director, Research Autism, London and Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath, UK.

He is also Professor of Applied Autism Research in the Japan Centre for Applied Autism Research, Taisho University, Tokyo; Visiting Scholar and Senior Research Fellow at Bond University, Queensland, Australia and Consultant to the Autism Resource Centre Singapore and Government of Jersey, Channel Islands. He is an Editor of Autism, the International Journal of Research and Practice, and Advances in Autism. His current research interests are in Anxiety and Autism, Criminal Justice and Autism, especially cybercrime, and on the evaluation of autism programmes internationally with projects in UK, Malta, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Greece and Japan. For over twenty years Richard was Director of Services at the National Autistic Society. He is a trustee of the John and Lorna Wing Foundation, London.

DR DAMIAN MILTON
10 Rules on How to Be a Bad Employer

Works part-time for the Tizard Centre, University of Kent as a Lecturer in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and for the National Autistic Society (NAS) as a Consultant.

Damian also teaches on the MA Education (Autism) programme at London South Bank University and has been a consultant for the Transform Autism Education (TAE) project and a number of projects for the Autism Education Trust (AET). 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. Damian’s primary focus is on increasing the meaningful participation of autistic people and people with learning disabilities in the research process and chairs the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC).

HELEN ELLIS
Autistic Girls

Helen received her formal diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome in 2009 at the age of 21. Ellis has worked in the autism field for several years. Currently, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion coordinator for the NAS.

She is also an advocate for her community as a member of the Westminster Autism Commission, on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Autism (APPGA) advisory group. Ellis has spoken at several conferences and training sessions over the years; predominantly focussing on late diagnosis, school and employment experiences, sensory issues and fatigue/burnout.

WILLIAM ANDERSON
Mental Health and Autism

An engineer to trade, William started working in social care in 2000 by mentoring young people in the youth justice system and also young people affected by substance misuse.

He went on to work for the NHS as a Community Health Development officer designing and delivering community health initiatives across areas of high deprivation. From here he then spent 10 years as a Service Manager for Aberlour Child Care Trust in Scotland managing 5 different sites where he supported young people aged 11-18 who were struggling with mainstream education due to social and emotional difficulties. In 2016 he began employment with The Donaldson Trust where he co-designed and now deliver its #JunX10n service – a support service for neurodiverse young people aged 14 – 25 who were absent from school, struggling with school or had struggled with school. At the Trust, William also worked as a Personalisation Manager establishing evaluation systems and person-centred approaches and practice by embedding them within our culture. He is also an associate for Children in Scotland’s “My Rights My Say” advocacy service.

BIRGIT DRASBÆK SØGAARD ISENE
The Use of Mindfulness with Autistic and ADHD Pupils

Birgit has a Master of Science (Psychology) MSc and works as a psychologist at Langagerskolen in Aarhus Denmark, a municipal special school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASF) and/or severe ADHD and comorbidities.

Langagerskolen is a municipal special school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASF) and / or severe ADHD and comorbidities. The teaching and activities at Langagerskolen are organized on the basis of pragmatic and evidence-based use of different educational methods. The approach is based on well-structured and visualized specialist pedagogy, which creates clarity and meaning for the individual student. Thus, the potential of each student is challenged as best as possible. The methods are based on a cognitive framework of understanding based on current knowledge about autism spectrum disorders and ADHD. The goal is that the individual student’s resources, interests and learning styles are best utilized. Another goal is to make students as self-reliant as possible with respect for their distinctive personality.

SUSANNE HVIDTFELDT
The Use of Mindfulness with Autistic and ADHD Pupils

A consultant in Education from the team at Langagerskolen in Aarhus Denmark, a municipal special school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASF) and/or severe ADHD and comorbidities.

Langagerskolen is a municipal special school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASF) and / or severe ADHD and comorbidities. The teaching and activities at Langagerskolen are organized on the basis of pragmatic and evidence-based use of different educational methods. The approach is based on well-structured and visualized specialist pedagogy, which creates clarity and meaning for the individual student. Thus, the potential of each student is challenged as best as possible. The methods are based on a cognitive framework of understanding based on current knowledge about autism spectrum disorders and ADHD. The goal is that the individual student’s resources, interests and learning styles are best utilized. Another goal is to make students as self-reliant as possible with respect for their distinctive personality.

THERESA AQUILINA
Parenting and Autism

A mother of a 21-year-old young adult with autism. Since his diagnosis at 18 months, she put her career aside and together with professionals and therapist, dedicated her time working with her son, providing him with all the necessary to develop his skills.

After 8 years, she started working as an LSE, in several different areas such as mainstream education and National Student Support Services. She currently works at The Young Adult Educational Resource Centre, Wardija.

NATHALIE BUHAGIAR
Supporting Children’s Occupations to Secure Independence in the Future

An Occupational Therapist and pioneered Paediatric Occupational Therapy. A full-time resident academic member of staff within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Malta. Currently reading for a doctoral degree in Occupational Science at University College Cork, Ireland.

She obtained  a Masters Degree in Paediatric Occupational Therapy from University of East London and worked with Calderdale Trust, in the Child Development Centre in Halifax,  West Yorkshire . In 2001, she was awarded a scholarship by the University of Southern California to attend OT610 , a specialised intensive training  course in Sensory Integration and was  the first OT to practice  and promote Sensory Integration Therapy in Malta. In 2008 Nathalie was awarded the Allied Health Professions Award for Excellence in Healthcare.

In 2009 , after working in the health sector for 20 years, Nathalie took up a post in Education   embedding her OT skills in her job as an Inclusion Coordinator .She providing supervision to local and foreign Occupational Therapy students on practice placements in the school.

In April 2013 she was awarded  a Fulbright Scholarship at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The title of her project was “Occupational Therapy, special needs and inclusion: serving children in home, school and community”.

She also continues to support educators in the school system though university community partnerships, professional development, collaboration and consultation.

DR CLAIRE AZZOPARDI LANE
Sexuality and Autism

Claire specializes in the field of disability and sexuality. She has worked in various sectors, including education, social care, professional staff training and ultimately academia.

In her professional experience Dr Azzopardi Lane has worked directly with persons with disability, their families and persons who work in disability related professions. Currently, Dr Azzopardi Lane lectures at the University of Malta, across various faculties and departments, including that of Sociology, Youth and Community Studies, Gender Studies, Social Work and Social Policy and the Department of Disability Studies. Dr Azzopardi Lane’s recent research work revolved around disability and sexual relationships, sex education, LGBTIQ, sexual health and parenting.  She has presented and published her academic research internationally with the intent of influencing policy and practise in the field.

CHARLENE BORG
Partnership with Parents

Appointed Parent Relations Manager at Inspire Foundation in 2011, Borg works hand in hand with families. Her beacon is her belief in the mandatory need for family support, empowerment and advocacy.

Borg works to progressively keep developing and solidifying Inspire’s family support programmes, believing that supporting the family is equally (if not more) important for people with disabilities to reach their full potential and be significant contributors towards society. The family services at Inspire have grown exponentially and her greatest achievement is when she witnesses families, relatives and people with a disability who find the strength and courage to transform the energy that comes from their pain and struggles, into a positive force that brings along a ripple effect of goodness and richness.

DOREEN MERCIECA
Starting Early

Doreen is the founder, coordinator and manager of the Structured Training and Education Programme (STEP) for children affected by autism. She has been managing specialized early intervention programmes since 1997. She is also the Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisor for Inspire Foundation.

Her overall responsibilities include ensuring total quality management across all ASD programmes and services and the ongoing development of specialised autism services and policies. She has worked for several years as a member of the Autism Awards Accreditation Panel and also participated in a number of reviews in the UK, evaluating specialised services and schools as a NAS Accreditation team member. She is also the Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisor for Inspire Foundation.


NIGEL BORG
The Experience of an Autistic Person in The Education System

Nigel is a young adult on the Autism Spectrum. He was first diagnosed at the age of 3 with communication difficulties. Thanks to the right intervention, he developed speech from non-verbal and not-receptive to being able to speak at the United Nations Congress in Geneva last April.

Together with the support of his family and supportive teachers, he learnt about himself being Autistic when he was just 12. Nigel is currently 19 years old and is following a level 4 course at MCAST. He aspires to become a game developer and is here today to share with you how he became the person he is today and how in his opinion children with Autism can be helped to reach their full potential.