Lived experience of autism to take centre stage at APAC15

The good and the bad, triumphs and challenges of living with an autism spectrum disorder will take centre stage at the 2015 Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC15) in Brisbane in September.

APAC15 will feature a number of speakers who are on the autism spectrum, including Penelope Robinson, Jeanette Purkis, Matthew Bennett and Damian Santomauro.

Penelope, Jeanette and Matthew will present Symposium 12 on Day 3 'Transforming Futures - Perspectives of Adults with ASD' examining the transition to life after school, entering work and how each overcame personal challenges.

Penelope Robinson will provide an overview of the #AWEtismRethink I Can Network, and why a rethink on autism is needed to focus on the strengths of the spectrum rather than deficits. Penelope with also talk about her personal journey to becoming an Assistant Lecturer at Monash University and the challenges she has overcome along the way. She will also talk about the good things that having Asperger's syndrome has brought her.

In her presentation, Jeanette Purkis will focus autism and employment and successful transitions into the workforce for people on the Autism spectrum. The presentation will draw on her own employment journey in the Australian Public Service, and provide tips and strategies for moving into - and staying in - work for people on the spectrum.

Matthew Bennett will describe his PhD study on adults with Asperger syndrome and their experiences in education, employment and intimate relationships. He will also propose a series of relevant recommendations to help adults on the autism spectrum succeed in education, employment and intimate relationships.

Damien Santomauro will present as part of Symposium 1o on Day 3 'Transforming Adolescence' and will talk about emotion regulation in adolescents and young adults with ASD with a focus on depression. His presentation discusses the outcome his PhD research in which a free 10 week depression intervention was offered for young adults with high functioning ASD who were feeling sad, depressed, or stressed. The program was part of a world first trial study designed by Professor Tony Attwood and Dr Michelle Garnett from the Minds and Hearts Clinic in Brisbane.

Jointly hosted by Autism Queensland and the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders, APAC15 will be held in Brisbane from 9 to 11 September 2015.

The program features clinicians, educators, researchers, people with ASD, parents and others involved in working with people on the spectrum for three days of expert learning. To view the full program and view the concurrent sessions visit the APAC15 Program page.

For enquiries email: the APAC15 Conference

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or call +61 7 3200 8299.


Media inquiries: Jose Abad, 0403 930 380,

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