Autism & Neurodiversity channel. Interviews, group dialogue facilitation and coaching in the fields of Autism, Aspergers, Neurodiversity and holistic mental health care. Autism is not an illness and only a disability because we made it one! We are a new and growing community of professionals, practitioners and researchers, some of whom are autistic and some who are not. Listen to inspiring interviews and conversations with a wide range of cool and interesting people! Established 2017 in UK.
Anna Nibbs is a Learning and Teaching Enhancement Adviser at the University of Sheffield.
She is autistic.
In this wide-ranging conversation recorded on 3rd May 2019 at Sheffield Hallam University, UK, Anna provides an expert and experiential view of individual and systemic issues in health and well being and inclusion in the workplace. Also covered is neurodiversity, autistic culture shift, disability models, combatting anxiety, mentoring, leadership and Autism Dialogue, in which Anna has participated since early 2018.
Anna states, “I had a clued up manager who realised my issues were an Occupational Health thing. Her question was what does this person need in order to work well. Regardless of a diagnosis, what does this person need in order to do their job? That really should be how everything should be, really”
“If the systems are poor and the experience of the workplace is poor, it saps energy and resources which means that there’s less energy available to deliver a good service to the end user. For me as a disabled person, an autistic person, I think that’s a huge thing because so much of our internal resources are sapped away before we’ve even got a chance to use them for the good that we want to bring into the world.”
“There’s a lot of talk about health and wellbeing but a lot of it is sticking plasters that don’t address the systemic cause of low well-being and mental illness among students and staff.’ Dr. Luke Beardon stated Autism + Environment = Outcome, but often the environment is not even paid any heed to.” “One of the things that I’m interested in, is the skills that disabled people (more generally), but autistic people have, that are being used in ways often just to survive, and to keep safe, and to protect, or look after others in the community, and therefore are not being recognised as something that they’re using professionally. Things like advocacy, mentoring, coaching and collaboration. Autistic people are supposed to not be able to do team work and yet you see online the networking, the collaboration, the joint group projects often managed with so limited resources, and if that isn’t team work I don’t know what is! And actually a lot this stuff is invisible and is not acknowledged for the high level skilled work that it is. Many workplace practices are not inclusive and not accessible, those skills are being used just to enable that person to get by. And this is the thing about organisational user experience."
Interview with Steve Silberman, 25th April 2019. (32mins).
The interview, recorded on 24th April 2019, starts with a friendly exchange around common creative interests and alternative art forms. The conversation then moves to examine a perceived autism culture shift, from the wide systemic damage caused by the medical model of disability and Kanner’s default pathologising, to the ever-present fractiousness in the autism community. Extreme imbalances in research outlay and general ignorance are explored, and finally the growing strengths based perspectives and looking hopefully forward to more harmonious, productive dialogue in the autism community... perhaps as Neurotribes! Steve also makes an exclusive announcement of a new book. Read the full Autism Dialogue UK report at www.autismdialogue.org
Steve Silberman is an award-winning investigative reporter and has covered science and cultural affairs for Wired and other national magazines for more than twenty years. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, TIME, Nature and Salon. His ground-breaking book on autism, NEUROTRIBES: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently, won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2015 and is a worldwide bestseller. In 2001, he published "The Geek Syndrome," one of the first articles in the mainstream press to probe the complex relationship between autism and genius. The article was praised by experts in the field like neurologist Oliver Sacks and author Temple Grandin. Steve Silberman is a former teaching assistant for the poet Allen Ginsberg, has won numerous awards over the years for his science coverage in the New Yorker, Nature and many other national and international magazines. www.stevesilberman.com. Photo credit Mike Mermin.
Jonny Drury interviews autism author and practitioner Holly Bridges, prior to departure from Perth, Australia for a working tour to the USA and UK. In an at times, candid and personal discussion, the pair cover a wide-range of difficult, contemporary (and historical) issues around the phenomenon of autism, the limitations of Western science and language, and try to address some of the deep-seated problems autistic people constantly face in a predominantly medical, deficit-based environment.
Holly is a keynote speaker, workshop leader and 1:1 therapist and the founder of an innovative technique which uses the widely respected Polyvagal Theory (Stephen Porges) along with inspiration gained from Anat Baniel's pioneering 'neuromovement'. Holly starts from the premise that every autistic person can 'upgrade' their mind / body connection, if they are given the right tools and are treated respectfully, positively, and creatively. The beauty of the PVT, Holly says, is that it can explain to autistic people what might be happening for them. Holly's technique pushes past the ‘glass ceiling’ of autism, reducing the sensory distress and re-engaging awareness of the physical system. Holly says "I don’t work with how to make autistic people fit into the world, just how to fit into their body better." www.zebr.co
Caroline Pakel has been working as a creative facilitator, coach and trainer for 15 years, helping individuals, teams, organisations and communities around the world. Before that, she was a cross-cultural qualitative researcher with clients including the Disney companies.
Caroline’s passion is in the facilitation of understanding and change for greater wellbeing, and the production of regenerative solutions for the future. One of the focuses of her work today is about generating authentic and compassionate leadership. She is particularly interested in bringing dialogue tools to the community: helping others open to different ways of being and thinking; helping them connect or re-connect with themselves and others and get involved in and committed to the creation of a more sustainable future, for themselves and for future generations.
Caroline will be co-convening the national Autism Dialogue project in Sheffield, UK in 2019. Here we had a great chance to interview her just two weeks before the unique programme started, to get a better understanding of her and her approach and style.
Also available as a video.
Caroline's website www.totheheart.com
Autism Dialogue www.autismdialogue.org
Flow Dialogue - website coming soon
The recordings from Part 2 of the Autism Dialogue Conference, Sheffield, UK, 14th December, 2018.
Jennifer Layton Annable – Autism researcher.
Panda Mery – Almost too calm neurodivergent researcher.
James Pelham – Autscape.
Dinah Murray – Participatory Autism Research Collective.
Libby Scott – Autistic 10yr old renowned blogger.
Kym Scott – Early Years Trainer and Consultant.
Lisa Reidy – Sheffield Hallam Autism Research Partnership.
Hester Reeve – Reader in Fine Art and Bohm Dialogue tutor, Sheffield Hallam University.
The Inaugural Conference of Autism Dialogue on 14th December 2018, Sheffield UK. This episode is the keynote speeches from:
Jonathan Drury (Autism Dialogue)
Jane Ball (co-founder Academy of Professional Dialogue)
Carol Povey (Director of the Centre for Autism, National Autistic Society) Anna Nibbs (Learning and Teaching Enhancement Adviser, University of Sheffield)