/ Autism West Symposium 2019: The Speakers
Andrew Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research at the Telethon Kids Institute and Professor of Autism Research at The University of Western Australia. He is also Chief Research Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. At the Telethon Kids Institute he leads a large team using a wide range of methodologies to investigate the early identification and intervention of children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, including molecular genetics, neuroscience, endocrinology, behavioural experiments and clinical trials. Andrew has published over 170 peer-reviewed journal articles and attracted over $35 million in competitive research grants. He currently presents an internationally syndicated video series called ’60 Second Science”, which has been viewed by over 1 million people. Andrew is an advisor to State and Commonwealth Governments on policies relating to children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, and chaired the committee that generated Australia’s first national guideline for autism diagnosis. He has also been awarded Australia’s most prestigious scientific award, the Eureka Prize. Prior to coming to the Telethon Kids Institute, Andrew was a Fellow at the University of Oxford.
Dr Emma Goodall is the Manager Disability & Complex Needs for the Department for Education in South Australia. She is responsible for the review of programs and the development and implementation of research based policy and programs to enable students with complex needs including those on the autism spectrum to flourish in the education system. Emma is an experienced autism consultant and teacher, blogger and published author who combines her professional and academic skills and knowledge with her lived experience as an autistic, to help people understand what it means to be on the autistic spectrum and how different life is for those on and not on the spectrum. Emma is passionate about helping families and schools to facilitate success for children on the spectrum. Emma uses her skills as a certified life coach, mindfulness and meditation teacher to empower adult autistics to understand themselves and how to connect to themselves, and others and maximise their wellbeing through her consultancy Healthy Possibilities. Emma lives in Adelaide with her wife and their dog. She is also on the executive committees of the Australian Society for Autism Research and an adjunct professor at the University of Wollongong.
John Schad is a teacher with over 20 years’ experience in working with individuals with autism. Before coming to Perth, John worked for 12 years at the Princeton Child Development Institute (PCDI) – a private, centre-based educational program for individuals with autism. During his employment there he attended Holy Family University and received a Masters of Education, with duel certifications in Primary Education and Special Education. While at PCDI he worked in a variety of roles including teacher and trainer in the institute’s Adult Life-Skills Program. This included a five-year appointment at Mountainview, one of the Institute’s group homes, where he resided with his family and 5 adults with autism, under the Teaching Family model of intervention. Since moving to Australia, John has worked at the School of Special Educational Needs: Disability as a Consulting Teacher with the Autism Education Service, providing support to schools and students with ASD. He has since completed a graduate certification program at the University of West Florida and is now a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst.
Judy Singer identifies as being “in the middle of 3 generations of women somewhere on the autistic spectrum”. Her 1998 Honours Thesis from the University of Technology Sydney was the pioneering sociological study of this, at that time, new kind of disability. In her thesis, Judy argued that autism was not a new medical condition, but a “socially constructed” disability which emerged due to social changes in the post-modern era. She was credited with coining the term “neurodiversity” to call for a new liberation movement for people who were neurologically atypical. Judy was the founder, via the Internet, of the world’s first support group for people raised by autistic parents. She was Secretary of Sydney’s Inner West Autism and Asperger’s Support Group for several years, and co-founded ASteen, a Sydney-wide social club for teenagers with autism, which is now affiliated with Aspect.
Meredith is a highly experienced family lawyer who has worked exclusively in family law, mediation and care and protection matters since her admission in 1996. Meredith’s focus is working with clients to resolve complex parenting and financial matters and she has extensive experience as a Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. She is also a qualified Arbitrator and a qualified Collaborative Professional who regularly works with social workers and financial advisors to assist parties to settle their child and financial matters. In addition to private work, Meredith is also a highly experienced Independent Children’s Lawyer in the Family Court and a Child Representative in the Children’s Court. In this capacity she assists the Court in determining the children’s best interests and conveys the children’s views.
Meredith has a special interest in ASD. She has a child on the spectrum and has represented parents of children with ASD and children with ASD themselves in both the Family Court and the Children’s Court.
Payam is compassionate and wise, he is on the autism spectrum and he is non-speaking. Three years ago at the age of 14, Payam had a communication breakthrough and now communicates by typing on a keyboard.
Payam is an advocate for all who have ever felt misunderstood. He lives in Atlanta, USA amongst a growing community of revolutionary thinkers. He has presented at the educational conference at Georgia Tech, hoping to spread his message, and on April 2nd 2019, Payam addressed the United Nations on World Autism Awareness Day advocating for his peers, or as he calls them, “the other silent champions.”
For Parisa Khosravi, Payam’s mother, giving voice to the voiceless was her joy and passion as a journalist. It has now taken a completely different meaning as she advocates for her non-speaking teenage son on the autism spectrum and his peers to ensure their voices are heard, and she wants to share Payam’s presentation with you.
Payam respects the need to help international mindsets with understanding more clearly what it is like to always feel trapped by preconceived perspectives. Major world views are beginning to open for individuals with disabilities. Payam hopes to continue this journey by presenting to you all.
Tori Haar is an autistic woman from Brisbane. She works for Autism CRC where she is the project team chair for the Future Leaders program as well as being part of their Research Office. She has a Masters of Disability Studies, is a member of the Aspect Advisory Council and has been establishing herself as an autistic leader and public speaker for over 5 years. Tori is also a 2019 Westpac Social Change Fellow. Tori is passionate about creating opportunities for autistic people to embrace their potential and creating environments which allow them to express themselves, learn from and encourage one another.
Ursula has worked exclusively in family law since her admission in 2017. She completed her Bachelor of Laws alongside a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Gender Studies and Social Analysis. Her emphasis is on providing commercially realistic and easily understandable advice to her clients. After her admission, Ursula worked as a Legal Associate for a Family Court Judge and offers a unique insight into the inner workings of the Family Court and their judicial officers.
Ursula is currently completing her Graduate Diploma in Autism Studies. She hopes this qualification will provide her with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the needs of parents and children with ASD.