Conference 2023

This year’s conference on Transitions was really well appreciated. Comments included:

“The speakers are fantastic and their delivery is based on real life stories which makes the conference very useful to me. On another note, it widens my experience on autism and how to support people affected knowing everyone is different”

“I thoroughly enjoyed today and was very inspired by the panel members as a late diagnosed adult in my 50s. I felt close to tears at various times.”

“Fantastic event really good to hear from so many speakers, particularly from those on the spectrum who spoke about their own experiences.”

“It was a brilliant day, we really enjoyed it and came away with lots of great ideas for our future employment project work.”

“I thought it was a very valuable day with a full-house of diverse and learned expertise, and I’m sure you helped prompt a lot of thinking and value among the community trying to improve the lives of autistic people and their families – thank you!”

“Thank you for a thought-provoking day”

“Well done on the conference! It was really insightful, and great to see so many autistic speakers in particular.”

“More of this, well done, great initiative.”

“This has been amazing experience and absolute wonderful, diverse panel to learn so much from.
I had a very productive day and loved it with all the initiatives, talk and different points of view.”

You can view the full conference on video below. Each conference session is bookmarked.


Time Session Who  
10:00-10:30 Registration
10:30-10:45 Intro/
Craig Walker /
Nicola Martin
10:45-11:45 Session 1 Nicola Martin,

Sharron Sturgess,

Michael Arhin-Acquaah,

Piers Wilkinson

This presentation will consider transitions through post compulsory education stages, into, and through work. It will draw upon REAL which is an approach informed by research with autistic students, job seekers and employees.  REAL stands for : reliable, empathic, anticipatory and logical and these are principles which underpin the development of conditions conducive to success for autistic people, and for everyone else. The presentation will consider ways in which environments can conform to REAL principles and thus reduce barriers to success.
11:45-11:55 Break
11:55-12:55 Session 2 Ian Iceton I will be focussing on my work with the Autism Centre of Excellence at Cambridge.
In particular, I am looking at those autistic people that need support both finding and keeping work that do not fit the stereotypical young, male, geeky, IT-based, office worker type profile.
So I will be talking about autistic people who fall into one or more of four “other” categories:
People with special/ additional learning needs (SEND) or disabilities; or who have other physical or mental challenges;
people whose autism presents with additional non-stereotypical facets, such as non-verbal, or agoraphobic; or significant travel and logistic challenges etc;
Intersectional autistic people ie autistic AND female, or non-white; or LGBQT+, or older, or socially deprived;
People who come from or are based in regions of the world that have much less recognition/ acknowledgement of autism as a condition.
 Session 2 Marc Hommel Understanding the employer lens: inspiring positive engagement to manifest better outcomes:
– Many employers want to improve the world of work for autistic people and recognise their business could benefit as a result
– But the application of good intention is difficult
– What can we do to inspire the changes we need?
12:55-13:45 Lunch
13:45-14:45 Session 3 Olivia Guerini Join us for an enlightening discussion on transition pathways for autistic adults, as we explore how CareTrade Charitable Trust is dedicated to creating inclusive spaces where individuals can find purpose and add value to their lives. Through three compelling case studies, we will delve into the unique challenges faced by autistic individuals during different transition periods. From equipping school leavers with employability skills to helping those affected by redundancy or burnout regain confidence in the working world, our bespoke approach focuses on the basics, self-identification, and skill analysis. Discover how we facilitate social integration, provide insights into individual capacities, and empower autistic adults to navigate their own pathways with confidence and resilience. Be inspired by success stories and learn how you can contribute to fostering an inclusive and fulfilling future for autistic individuals.
 Session 3 Barbara Sandland Reasonable Adjustments are there to help, but do we really know how to use them or what to ask for? Do those that provide them take into consideration whether neurodivergent people feel able to use them or do they just ‘tick a box’ by saying they were offered?
As an autistic researcher, I have used my own experiences as a springboard into researching reasonable adjustments in higher education. I will share the findings that suggest key factors that impact a autistic person’s ability or willingness to use reasonable adjustments, which are often directly correlated to the inclusive culture underpinning them from the provider.
I will show how the findings indicate that we shouldn’t assume offering reasonable adjustments equates to good systems of support. Instead, we should view them as a life skill to be taught and nurtured, to empower the autistic person to be an equal partner in their development and implementation. Gaining a skill that will benefit them throughout their lives
14:45-14:55 Break
14:55-15:55 Session 4 James Cusack Autistica has a goal to see the rate of employment double for autistic people by 2030, and have developed a comprehensive plan in partnership with autistic people, families, researchers, policy makers, and employers to enable this outcome. As part of this plan, Autistica has worked with Robert Buckland and the Department for Work and Pension to establish a government review in to autism and employment. This talk will discuss Autistica’s employment goal and the role of the Buckland review in improving employment outcomes for autistic people.
 Session 4 Mackenzie Taylor MacKenzie will talk about transitioning from being with and without a diagnosis, including how this has impacted how they have changed the way they approach work. MacKenzie will also describe the support they have received during Covid and in the post COVID world.
15:55-16:00 Break
16:00-16:30 Whole panel Q&A Craig Walker (MC/Moderator)
16:30-17:00 Mingling

Speaker Biographies – opens in a new page

Here is some feedback from last year’s conference:

“It was great to hear such a diversity of experiences and opinions.”

“Very Useful – looking at different aspects/viewpoints involving autism.”

“Thank you so much, it has been brilliant – so relevant and insightful for an autistic very late diagnosed woman and parent/carer working in local government but struggling to maintain FT employment and remain healthy (physical and mental) and thriving. Please do run this conference again.”

“Fantastic event! So many different points of view. Very glad to see AP being made welcome to the event.”

“Was great to have a diversity of experiences in different contexts. Really generous sharing of experiences – thanks for all. Great day!”

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