STANFORD NEURODIVERSITY SUMMIT 2021
Program and Speakers
DAY 2 - Monday, November 8, 2021
Day 2 Opening Remarks
Lloyd B. Minor, MD
Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine
Lloyd B. Minor, MD, is the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine. Under his leadership, Stanford Medicine has emerged as a leader in the Precision Health revolution, which emphasizes preventive, personalized health care and leverages advances in biomedicine to treat and cure complex diseases. His book, “Discovering Precision Health,” published in 2020, illustrates how Stanford Medicine and other health leaders are revolutionizing biomedicine. In 2021, he articulated a bold vision for the purposeful and equitable development of a life sciences innovation hub in the Bay Area. Dr. Minor also is a professor of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and a professor of Bioengineering and of Neurobiology, by courtesy, at Stanford University. With more than 160 published articles and chapters, Dr. Minor is an expert in balance and inner ear disorders. In 2012, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
8:40 AM - 9:00 AM Neurodiversity at Work Program at Stanford. Lawrence Fung, MD, PhD, Stanford University
Lawrence Fung, MD, PhD
Director, Stanford Neurodiversity Project
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Lawrence Fung is a scientist and psychiatrist specialized in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the father of a neurodiverse teenager with ASD. He is the director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, which strives to uncover the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilize their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole. He directs the Neurodiverse Student Support Program, Neurodiversity at Work Program (recently funded by Autism Speaks), and Adult Neurodevelopment Clinic at Stanford. Dr. Fung is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. His lab advances the understanding of neural bases of human socio-communicative and cognitive functions by using novel neuroimaging and technologies. His team devise and implement novel interventions to improve the lives of neurodiverse individuals by maximizing their potential and productivity. For example, he is conducting a study to demonstrate that specialized employment programs such as Neurodiversity at Work program will result in higher retention rates and quality of life.
9:00 AM - 9:45 AM Keynote Presentation: "Stories of Belonging." Speaker: Rhonda Moore, PhD,* National Institutes of Health
Rhonda Moore,* PhD
Program Director, Digital Global Mental Health Program, National Institute for Mental Health
Rhonda Moore (she/her) received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology at Stanford University with postdoctoral fellowships in Behavioral Science from the Psychiatry Department at Stanford Medical School, in Clinical Ethnography and Epidemiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and training in Hospice/Palliative Care at St. Austell’s Hospice in the UK. Recently diagnosed as Autistic, she has always been interested in the use of stories to increase empathy and belonging across diverse care settings (cancer, pain, palliative care, disability). in addition to peer reviewed publications, she is also writer/ editor of the following books: Climate Change and Health Equity (Forthcoming, Springer 2023), Handbook of Pain and Palliative Care (Springer, 2012, 2nd edition, Springer, 2019), Biobehavioral Approaches to Pain (Springer 2009) and Cancer Culture and Communication (Springer 2004; Co-edited with David Spiegel, MD, Stanford Medical School). Currently, she is Medical Anthropologist and Program Director in Global Mental Health at the Center for Global Mental health at the US National Institutes of Health. Her programmatic areas include: Social and Structural Determinants of Health, Ethics, Climate Change and Mental health, and Neurodiversity at work. She is also the Program Lead for the Digital Global Mental Health Program (Digital Global Mental Health Program ).
Abstract of Presentation: In this keynote, I will talk about my research which has focused on Stories of Belonging. Drawing on my experiences as a medical anthropologist, now working in the US federal government as a Program Director, I will also discuss how my recent diagnosis of autism has played a part in my advocacy to increase intersectional neurodiversity research across the lifespan.
9:45 AM- 10:30 AM Keynote Presentation - “The Forest and the Trees: Autism and Variable Memory.” Speaker: Anand Prahlad, PhD,* University of Missouri
Anand Prahlad,* PhD
Curators Distinguished Professor Emeritus
University Of Missouri-Columbia
Anand Prahlad is the author of two books of poems, Hear My Story and Other Poems, and As Good As Mango, and an award-winning memoir, The Secret Life of A Black Aspie. He has also published critical articles and books on black folklore and the proverb, including Reggae Wisdom: Proverbs in Jamaican Music and African American Proverbs in Context, and he edited the three-volume set The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Folklore and the one-volume The Greenwood Student Encyclopedia of African American Folklore. He has recently completed a new book of poems, titled Dreaming of Endangered Species, and is working on a community memoir focused on his family and ancestors on the Hickory Hill plantation in middle Virginia, where he grew up. His most recent work, which includes creative writing, songwriting, scholarship, and activism, all focus on disability, and especially the intersections between disability, race, and genderfluid identities. Prahlad is a Curators Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus in the English Department, at the University of Missouri, where he was the Director of the Creative Writing, and Folklore Programs, and taught courses that explored interconnections between creative writing, film, folklore, race, African Diaspora studies, popular culture, fetishism, and disability studies.
Abstract of Presentation: The Forest and the Trees: Autism and Variable Memory One of the stereotypes of autistic people is that they have phenomenal memories, especially when it comes to facts and information. A lesser-discussed issue, though, is memory deficit. This talk will touch on some of the neurological factors that seem to affect memory, such as objects of attention, sensory reception and processing, and a fluid sense of “I.” Drawing upon my own experiences, I will explore what I refer to as “variable memory.” I will discuss some of the challenges variable memory can pose to day-to-day self-care and functioning, to personal and professional relationships, and how it can contribute to conditions of loneliness and anxiety. I suggest, at the same time, though, how the neurological processes by which certain things are remembered can lead to a rich tapestry of personal and social connections.
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM Keynote Presentation - “Students as Change Partners: Student Self-determination and Autonomy.” Speaker: Yong Zhao, PhD,* University of Kansas
Yong Zhao, PhD
Foundation Distinguished Professor
University of Kansas
Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. He previously served as the Presidential Chair, Associate Dean, and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he was also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. Prior to Oregon, Yong Zhao was University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology, executive director of the Confucius Institute, as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the International Academy of Education.
Abstract of Presentation: Students have rarely been involved in making significant changes to their learning. Education reforms have typically focused on curriculum, teachers and teaching, and assessment, but rarely about helping students to become owners of their learning and learning environments. In this presentation, Professor Yong Zhao discusses the necessity of involving students as partners of educational change and owners of their learning. Professor Zhao will also discuss strategies to encourage and support student self-determination and agency.
11:15 AM - 12:15 PM Neurodiversity Career Panel (Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences). Panelists: Russell Lehmann*, Hannah Ehrenberg*, Ava Rigelhaupt*
Moderators: Lawrence fung, MD, PhD and Mark Gavartin, Stanford Neurodiversity Project
Motivational Speaker and Poet
Board of Directors, The Arc of the United States
Russell Lehmann is an award-winning and internationally recognized motivational speaker and poet with a platform of contextualizing autism, mental illness, and cannabis use. A graduate of MIT‚ Leadership in the Digital Age course, Russell showed signs of autism as a newborn, however he was not formally diagnosed until the age of 12 after suffering through 5 weeks in a lock down psychiatric facility. His new book, On the Outside Looking In‚ recently hit bookstores nationwide. In 2018, Russell was named as Reno-Tahoe's Most Outstanding Young Professional Under 40. In 2019 & 2020, Russell lectured for the prestigious King's College of London and the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education in Abu Dhabi, respectively.
Programs and Outreach Associate
Organization for Autism Research (OAR)
Hannah Ehrenberg (she/her) is the Programs and Outreach Associate at the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). Prior to OAR, Hannah worked in the new musical theatre industry and as a high school English teacher at a Deaf school. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Teachers College, Columbia University. Currently, Hannah is also the facilitator and co-organizer of an online group for autistic women and nonbinary people in the greater Washington, DC area and serves as the Volunteer Coordinator of ProtestAccess. As a late-diagnosed autistic woman, Hannah is committed to giving back to her community.
Ava X. Rigelhaupt*
Live Action Casting Intern
Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt (she/her/hers) is a public speaker, writer, actress, and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry. Ava shares her story as a Chinese, Jewish, neurodiverse adoptee through speaking engagements and panels (e.g. Disney and Netflix writers' rooms, Actors' Equity, and The Kennedy Center). Ava publishes articles and critiques of disability representation in media, interviews with entertainment professionals, and experiences as a disabled AAPI woman. Currently, Ava is a Nickelodeon Live Action Casting Intern. Additionally, she‚Äôs an Autistic Creative Consultant on a developing musical, How to Dance in Ohio, (directed by Stanford alumna, Sammi Cannold!) Ava became immersed in the entertainment industry through consulting with Hollywood studios ensuring authentic onscreen portrayals of disability and diversity. Ava reviews scripts, discusses disability tropes, and edits character sketches. She remains an ongoing entertainment consultant. Her senior year at Sarah Lawrence College (class of 2020), Ava was a Ruderman Family Foundation Inclusion Ambassador. She produced the college‚Äôs first sensory friendly theatrical performance in addition to organizing and moderating a panel of professionals discussing entertainment inclusion practices. (Sensory friendly performances are accessible to people with sensory sensitivities such as those with autism or PTSD). Ava is determined to educate and influence the entertainment industry, creating more opportunities and authentic representations for the talented and diverse disability community.
Animation and Technology Student
I am 20 years old, live in Leesburg, Virginia, and I have autism. I also have a unique sense of humor, am gifted at math, really good at technology, and a really quick learner. I have an older sister, younger brother, and a dog named Truck.
1:00 - 1:45 PM "PCORI Mission and Vision on Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Focused on Autism." Kelly Dunham, MPP and Caitlin McCormick, JD, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Matt Cheung, PhD is a parent of a neurodiverse individual struggling with anxiety and multiple medical conditions. He has been an ambassador of PCORI since 2015 and an advocate for patient centered outcomes research. There is so little evidence that will help patients and caregiver to make healthcare decisions for people like his son. His wish for this session is for us to gain a better understanding of PCORI and how it funds research which are done differently than before to address a wide range of evidence gaps and especially its current focus on helping neurodiverse individuals who face insurmountable challenges in achieving their potentials.
Lawrence fung, MD, PhD is a scientist and psychiatrist specialized in autism, and the father of a neurodiverse teenager. He is the director of the Stanford Neurodiversity Project, which strives to uncover the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilize their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole.
Kelly Dunham, MPP
Kelly Dunham, MPP, is Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). In this role, she manages the operational aspects of the Science portfolio to meet PCORI’s strategic goals, including research strategy, portfolio development, and portfolio synthesis and communication. As part of PCORI’s efforts to maximize the impact of research, she represents the organization in the Ensuring Value in Research (EViR) Funders’ Forum, a collaborative effort with other US and international funders to improve efficiency in biomedical research. Dunham joined PCORI in 2013. Prior to her current role, she served as Senior Manager, Research Synthesis, in the Office of the Chief Science Officer, where she worked with the Chief Science Officer and program staff to identify strategic topic areas and oversee the development and implementation of focused funding opportunities. Prior to joining PCORI, Dunham spent several years conducting primary research at the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan, and the Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care Outcomes Research (CHP/PCOR) at Stanford University. Dunham received a BA in anthropology from Indiana University and an MPP from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
Caitlin McCormick, JD
Before joining PCORI, McCormick was an associate director and clinical instructor of law with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School. She taught health law and policy to law students, focusing on the legislative process and tools for advancing policy goals in Congress. Before Harvard, McCormick was a policy attorney with the health policy practice groups at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Patton Boggs LLP in Washington, DC, where she advised healthcare companies and industry coalitions on a wide variety of legislative, regulatory, and government oversight matters.
1:45 PM - 2:30 PM Keynote panel. "Inclusion Intelligence: embrace the challenge of hiring disabled team members and discover a workplace transformation." Speakers: Jeff Moore,* Anderson University; Randy Lewis, NOGWOG Disability Initiative
Abstract of panel: Two global companies have intentionally hired team members with a diversity of disabilities. Individuals with cognitive and, or physical disabilities are actively recruited for employment. In these distribution centers, 20 to 40% of their employees, have a disability. During this session you will learn how this initiative started at Walgreens. Recently Sephora has adopted this hiring strategy and adapted Walgreens know-how to create an inclusive workplace. Anderson University has been working with Walgreens and Sephora for the past 6 years studying their leadership style and documenting the impact of disabled team members on their managers and teams. We will share research findings about what is an inclusive management style, a company roadmap to inclusion, and the impact of disabled team members have on their teams. We will cover their impact on performance, safety, absenteeism, employee engagement and satisfaction.
Jeff Moore,* PhD
Professor of Management
Jeffrey Moore serves as a full-time professor of management and disability intelligence researcher at Anderson University (South Carolina). He was raised in France and received his PhD from the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis' business school Institut d"Administration des Entreprises (IAE). For the past five years, Dr. Moore serves as a member of the leadership team in the Academy of Management, Management Consulting Division. His research focus is on complexity leadership and hiring people with disabilities. Leading the Anderson University research team they work with Walgreens and Sephora to study their disability employment practices and impact on team members. This research provides best practices for onboarding, developing and promoting inclusive organizational initiatives that increase innovation, adaptability & employee engagement.
NOGWOG Disability Initiative
Peace Corps volunteer, Arthur Murray dance instructor, Ernst and Young partner, Fortune 50 senior executive and author. Before retiring in 2013 as Senior Vice President, he led Walgreens’ logistics division for sixteen years as the chain grew from 1,500 to 8,000 stores with the most advanced logistics network in its industry. Randy remains active in business and maintains an active speaking schedule about the advantages of hiring those with disabilities.
2:30 PM - 3:15 PM Employer Panel 2. Panelists: Javier Fernandez-Alcudia, PhD, Stanford University; Rhianna Axon, Charlie Acres Farm
Moderators: Lawrence fung, MD, PhD and Mark Gavartin, Stanford Neurodiversity Project
Javier Fernandez Alcudia, PhD
Director, Gene Vector and Virus Core
Javier F. Alcudia, PhD has been serving as Director of the Gene Vector and Virus Core at Stanford since 2014 giving support and guidance on the usage and design of viruses for the neuroscience community. Originally from Barcelona where he received his PhD in molecular biology, moved to Stanford as a postdoctoral scholar to continue his research working in cancer and gene therapy.
Charlie Acres Farm Sanctuary
Originally from Woodstock, New York, I obtained my BA in Zoology from SUNY Oswego in 2013. Upon graduation, I moved to Oregon with my husband for a new adventure. There, I worked with chimps, birds of prey, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. We moved to California in 2017 to work at Charlie's Acres, where I am now the director of animal care and in charge of caring for over 140 individuals.
3:15 PM - 4:15 PM “Autism and Suicide: Identifying Unique Risk Factors, Warning Signs, and Crisis Supports for the Autism Community.” Brenna Maddox, PhD, University of North Carolina; Lisa Morgan,* Lisa Morgan, MEdCAS, Consulting LLC
Moderators: Greg Yates, AASCEND and Lawrence Fung, MD, PhD, Stanford Neurodiversity Project
Suicide is a leading cause of premature death in autistic people. Suicide is a crisis in the autism community. Research has given us unique risk factors for autisitc people. Suicide prevention is autistic people being accepted in society to the point where they do not have to mask their autism to fit in and be accepted.
There is a need for unique resources, research, and supports for suicide prevention in the autism community, including among those employed. The panelists will summarize the recent research in this area, share lived experiences, and explain how community can be instrumental in suicide prevention.
- Describe at least three possible risk factors of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in autistic people.
- Discuss at least five key considerations for suicide warning signs when working with autistic people.
- Discuss at least four communication differences in autistic people.
- Identify at least two crisis supports and resources for the autism community.
Brenna Maddox, PhD
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Dr. Brenna Maddox is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in the Department of Psychiatry. As the implementation scientist for the TEACCH Autism Program, her work focuses on improving community services for people on the autism spectrum across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in training and supporting community mental health clinicians, modifying cognitive-behavioral therapy for people on the autism spectrum with anxiety or depression, and preventing suicide in this population. Her research has been supported by the NIMH, PCORI, FAR Fund, and the Foundation of Hope. Dr. Maddox is also a clinical psychologist with expertise in the assessment and treatment of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autism. She serves on the expert hub team for ECHO Autism: Mental Health. In addition, she is a deputy editor for the journal, Autism in Adulthood, and a co-chair of the American Association of Suicidology‚Äôs Autism and Suicide Committee.
Lisa Morgan, MEdCAS
Lisa Morgan Consulting, LLC
Lisa Morgan has a graduate certificate in Behavior Analysis, a master's degree in the Art of Teaching in Special Education and is a board-certified autism specialist. She is founder and co-chair of the Autism and Suicide committee of the American Association of Sucidology (AAS). Lisa is an autistic adult who advocates for crisis supports and suicide prevention for autistic people. She is a peer reviewer for the Autism in Adulthood Journal, the home for research and scholarship on the most pressing issues affecting adults on the autism spectrum. She is the author of three books on autism and is a feature writer for the Spectrum Women online magazine. Lisa has led the development of an autism specific resource used by crisis center workers in over 200 crisis centers across the US. Also, in collaboration with the Autism and Suicide committee, released a new autism friendly resource in 2020 on considerations to take when assessing autistic people using the general warning signs of suicide.
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM College Panel 2. Panelists: Kristein Gillespie Lynch, PhD; Wes Wade*; Nicola Martin, PhD
Moderators: Christy Matta and Lawrence Fung, MD, PhD, Stanfortd Neurodiversity Project
Understand voiced experiences from neurodiverse/neurodivergent individuals in theoretical models that guide recommendations for strategies and institutional changes
Gain knowledge of research into UD, strengths based and SD models on college campuses. Understand the shift to including neurodiverse voices in the formulation of research questions and focus of research
Understanding a model to create spaces that are welcoming to neurodiversity and embrace the shift from deficit to strengths-based model, that center neurodiverse voices.
Understand UD and strengths-based models as theoretical models defining research, the shift from a model of deficit focus of neurodiversity to a strengths-based focus and the implications of universal design to change self-perception of neurodivergent communities -- from a deficit based identity to one in which neurodiversity appears at the leading edge of embracing a variety of forms of diversity in our institutions and in society at large.
Kristen Gillespie-Lynch, PhD
College of Staten Island & The Graduate Center; CUNY
Kristen Gillespie-Lynch received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from UCLA. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at CUNY. Guided by collaborations with autistic people, she co-constructs and evaluates interventions to empower autistic adolescents and adults and reduce stigma. She developed and directs a participatory mentorship program for autistic college students, Building Bridges Project REACH. Given that many of the challenges autistic people face arise from misconceptions about autism, she develops and evaluates autism trainings internationally. She applies insights gained from studying misconceptions about autism across cultures to teach educators how to better support neurodivergent students.
NC State University
Wesley Wade is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, a licensed clinical addictions specialist, and a certified clinical mental health counselor. He holds two master's degrees from North Carolina Central University, one in mental health counseling and one in career counseling. For over five years he has served as a career counselor for college students in North Carolina and in 2017 co-created the Students Moving Forward program at NC State University, a career-focused program for autistic college students. Wesley also serves on the planning committee for LiNC-IT, a statewide paid internship program for autistic college students in NC. In 2019, Wesley created the NC Autistic Career Summit, unifying colleges/universities, employers, students, and parents from across the state. Each summit offers a career fair for students on the autism spectrum in addition to student awards and breakout sessions centering autistic voices. This year, in 2021, the summit entered its third year of operation with over 250 registered attendees. Currently, Wesley is in his 4th year of a doctoral program in counseling and counselor education at NC State University where he is developing studies focused on neurodivergent students and adults with respect to career, education, and intersectionality.
Nicola Martin, PhD
The presentation summarises an approach to research which underpins the work of The Critical Autism and Disability Studies Research Group (CADS) at London South Bank University. CADS was the original home of The Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC). PARC was set up by autistic academics to promote autistic involvement in autism research.. Based on principles of universal design, research informed approaches to making university better for autistic people and everyone else, are discussed. Further research is signposted.
5:30 PM - 6:30 PM K-12 Panel 2 - “How Strength-Based Pedagogy Engages and Nurtures Neurodiverse Students’ Development: Current Research and a Personal Journey”. Panelists: Sally Reis, PhD, University of Connecticut; Sara Renzulli, PhD*, University of Connecticut
Moderators: Robin Schaer, Bridges Academy and Christy Matta, Stanford Neurodiversity Project
This session will provide an overview of exciting new research about students who have both talents and disabilities, focusing on a recent study of high potential students with ASD. The focus of this session is to discuss how we can use strengths and interests to engage and identify potential in a broad range of students who are neurodiverse and/or twice exceptional. Specific recent research results will be shared about positive findings relating to neurodiverse students with academic strengths and interests and how these were developed to achieve success both in high school and college. One of the presenters will also narrate her personal journey of neurodiversity, focusing on how educators and parents can support the academic strengths and interests of this group of students and help them develop a positive neurodiverse identity.
- For students, learn about research into important K-12 experiences to the positive development of neurodiverse students
- For academics/researchers, identify research on best practices in teacher experience and skill/knowledge building that foster creation of positive neurodiverse identity.
- For teachers and providers, identify skills and knowledge of best service and classroom practices to foster creation of positive neurodiverse identity.
Sally Reis, PhD
Letitia Neag Endowed Chair in Educational Psychology
Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut
Sally M. Reis holds the Letitia Neag Morgan Chair in Educational Psychology at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. She is also a UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, and recently completed a six year term as Vice Provost of Academic Affairs. As Vice Provost, she has implemented several new and innovative programs for Honors Students, Effective Teaching and Learning, and innovative undergraduate student research. She is a former Department Head of the Educational Psychology Department and also served as Principal Investigator of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She is a fellow of Division 15 of the American Psychological Association, and has won numerous professional awards. She served as President of the National Association for Gifted Children. She has authored and co-authored more than 250 publications, including articles, book chapters, and numerous monographs and technical reports, and works in a research team that has generated over 60 million dollars in grants during the last 15 years. Her research interests are related to academically talented students and talent development as well as special populations of gifted and talented students, including neurodiverse students.
Sara Renzulli, PhD*
Assistant Professor in Residence
University of Connecticut
Sara Renzulli, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Renzulli earned her master's degree and doctorate at the University of Connecticut in Counselor Education. Prior to joining the faculty, she worked as a counselor for UConn Athletics, and as an Academic Advisor for undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Renzulli's research interests include examining counseling and support service practices for students with learning differences/disabilities. Sara lives in Connecticut with her husband, Nicholas, and daughter Abigail.
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM "Making It Work." Action For Autism. Moderator: Merry Barua, Action For Autism. Panelists: Rakshita Shekhar; Drishaan Grover; Usaid Shaikh, Craftworldwide Division of McCann Worldgroup; Anirban Roy, Nestle India Ltd.; Preeti Siwach, Action For Autism; Ambika Atri, Craftworldwide Division of McCann Worldgroup
Moderator: Aditi Muranjan. Aditi is part of the autism employment services at Action For Autism Delhi, India. She is a trainer in the Employment readiness program which focuses to self awareness, self advocacy and problem solving. She facilitates employer understanding of their neurodivergent employees needs through sensitizations and identifies gaps and creates systems that adapt the work environment to allow the candidates to be independent. She strongly believes in volunteering and helping one's community. She has completed her Masters in Biotechnology and is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Autism to be an Special Educator.
Overview. Speaker: Merry Barua, Action For Autism
I want to be like the child I teach: Experiences of an autistic teacher of autistic students. Speaker: Rakshita Shekhar
Experiences of an Autistic Job Seeker. Speaker: Anirban Roy, Nestle India Ltd.
Experience at Workplace. Speaker: Usaid Shaikh, Craftworldwide Division of McCann Worldgroup
Things I Would like Employers to Know. Speaker: Drishaan Grover
Facilitating Inclusive Work Environments: An Employer’s Perspective. Speaker: Ambika Atri, Craftworldwide Division of McCann Worldgroup
Director Action For Autism, National Centre for Autism, India
Merry is an activist, writer, educator and trainer who pioneered the Autism movement in India. She started the first autism specialist school, initiated the first teacher training course, started the journal Autism Network, facilitated the start of services across South Asia, and helped catalyse legislative changes that include autism. Merry has been instrumental in the training of several thousand parents and professionals. Her focus is on creating enabling environments for autistic individuals as she advocates for their rights in education, employment, recreation, among others, as equal citizens of the country. Merry is an Ashoka Fellow, an INSAR (International Society for Autism Research) awardee. Merry is parent to Neeraj, her son with autism.
Consultant, Inclusive Education
I am an educator and consultant for disability rights organisations and schools. I have a masters in intellectual and developmental disabilities from the University of Kent, UK. I have extensive experience as a teacher in both general education and special education. I am a member of two international advocacy organisations: neuroclastic.inc and universal design for learning: special interest group. I am passionate about pedagogy, autism and inclusion. My approach is centered around developing good mental health in disabled children. Being an autistic myself, I ardently advocate for autistic children and adults through my poetry, essays, talks, and training programs. I hope to teach the society that they can and must rely on disabled people to solve the world's biggest problems. I dreams of a world where all live and let live.
Associate Software Developer in SAP Ariba Bangalore, India
I was diagnosed Autistic at the age of 3 along with my twin brother. My favourite subjects in School were Maths and Science I did my graduation in Computer Science and Engineering Soon after my graduation I got a job in SAP Labs as part of Autism at Work program. Currently I am working as Associate Software Developer in SAP Ariba Bangalore, India. My Job involves programming and testing web applications. My team members are non-autistic individuals who are aware of my autism and try to support me. I am staying independently in a city located in southern part of India while my family lives in a city located in northern part of India. I am passionate about Computer Programming and Codewords and am a big fan of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and Nintendo.
Craftworldwide Division of McCann Worldgroup
Mohammad Usaid Shaikh, Junior Editor, McCANN Erikson India I am a Graphic designer, Video editor and animator. I am from Mumbai India and currently working with McCANN Erikson India as a Junior Editor. I was diagnosed with Autism in my early childhood and since then started using art and sketches as a means of communication as I am a visual learner. It has been a long journey from my diagnosis to the screening of my short film ‘True Happiness, at The Mumbai International Film Festival 2020. I have done my Diploma in Autodesk Maya from MAAC and VFX Prime from Arena Animation. I also do Freelance Graphic designing and animation and have worked with Big Bazaar, Autism voice , Forum for Autism , Newzhook , Talk with Me App, Logos Transformation , Evoluer, Trinayani, besides others. My hobbies are Dancing, drumming, playing keyboard and reading. I am a part of Shiamak Davar’s Victory Arts Foundation and have performed in many of his shows. I feel strongly about doing things to perfection and believe in the quote by Dr Seuss- 'Why fit in when you were born to stand out'.
Nestle India Ltd.
I am a graduate of engineering from Kolkata, India. After graduating in electrical engineering in 2017, I did one training in industrial automation from an institute. After that, I worked in 2 factories as a trainee. In the factories I realized my co-workers and mangers have difficulty in understanding me. I was diagnosed with mild autism in the year 2020 and since then I decided to work in a pleasant office environment where people understand my autism. Then I did training on Employment Readiness Programme from Action from Autism. I am currently working from home (virtually) with Nestle India Limited as Learning Operations Support (intern). My hobbies are listening to music, watching Hindi serials, and online surfing. I feel strongly about doing things without giving up whatever challenging the work is and how much time it takes.
Craftworldwide Division of McCann Worldgroup
As a business leader at Craft, McCann Worldgroup’s production agency, Ambika is responsible for New Client engagements, identifying the right production solution for global, regional, and local clients, managing work transition and there on continuing to oversee work produced for our global clients like L’Oréal, Coca-Cola, Staples, Boehringer Ingelheim, Nestle, Somfy and Stanley Black and Decker out of our Super hub in Mumbai. Ambika has 20+ years of experience in creative production, consulting, and offshoring. She is one of the first few to join Craft in Mumbai when it was set up and has been instrumental in growing the hub since. Prior to joining Craft, she was working with companies like Diadeis, Tag and Genpact. Ambika is very passionate about empowering the youth and promoting diversity and has been leading the initiative for Craft in India.