Persons On The Autism Spectrum & The Connections They Make At The Heart of Inspire Foundation Event

autism spectrum

Inspire Malta has put together a programme for what promises to be a brilliant full-day event offering a unique mix of experience and expertise on how connections evolve throughout life’s journey for persons on the autism spectrum.

‘Connections’ and autism will be held on 28th April 2022 and will provide a platform to an extraordinary line-up of speakers, both experts in the field as well as individuals with exceptional personal life experiences that they will share with us on the day.

Have you booked your place with us for the event yet? Follow this link to avoid disappointment.

An event with a fantastic line-up of speakers

Here are the speakers who will be addressing the event: 

Dr Alistair de Gaetano is Chairperson of Malta’s Autism Advisory Council. Under his leadership, the Council published Respecting Diversity – Safeguarding Equity: Malta’s 2021-2030 National Autism Strategy’ in November 2021. Alistair was also involved in autism and disability-related efforts and outreach over the years, including as co-founder of EUCAP, the European Council of Autistic People. He worked on setting up the government’s Directorate for Disability Issues (DDI), where he developed key legislation, policy and actions to reform and strengthen the Maltese disability sector. 

Prof Richard Mills, has a long association with Malta. In the early 1990’s he became an adviser to the then Eden Foundation, and in more recent years the Inspire Foundation. His current research and practice interests are in programme and service evaluation, autism and mental health, forensic issues, in particular cybercrime, and in behaviours of concern – the Synergy programme. He is a lead on the SPELL framework programme in conjunction with the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent. He has authored several scientific articles and sits on numerous boards dealing with the subject of autism.

Autism and other neurodiverse conditions

David Perkins set up AS Mentoring (ASM) in mid-2013 to provide specialist support to people with autism and other neurodiverse conditions, with a primary focus on enabling social inclusion through employment in the UK. ASM employs 20 or so staff and currently supports over 150 individuals across a range of programmes. ASM also works with employers in the private sector. Previously David ran the National Autistic Society’s specialist employment service Prospects. He has spent most of his working life in the voluntary sector, and prior to his work at the NAS ran a group of nine specialist adventure play and respite care centres in London which supported some 1200 disabled children and their families.

Speakers Dr Wenn Lawson, Dr Alistair de Gaetano and Dr Ruth Moyse will be addressing the conference among others

Dr Wenn Lawson is an autistic researcher (PDAer), has three autistic offspring and three autistic granddaughters. Wenn is also a lecturer, psychologist, advocate, and poet, sharing his experiences for almost 3 decades. Wenn is published internationally, is an Associate Researcher with Curtin University (WA), and Macquarie University, NSW; Tutor Practitioner with Birmingham University (UK), a Board member for Autism in Adulthood, and the Australian Research Council, Ambassador for I CAN (Autistic Youth Advocacy) has a YouTube channel and home page. In 2008 he won 4th place as Victorian Australian of The Year, in 2017 he presented to the United Nations on matters of Autism and ageing & in 2021 he won the Lesley Hall, disability leadership lifetime achievement award. Wenn is passionate about all things LGBTQIA+.

Dr Jacqui Ashton Smith is an experienced educationalist and trainer with 40 years of experience in the field of autism, education and leadership. Her education experience ranges from specialist teaching to Principalships and Education Operations management to developing and opening new schools and Directorships for a national UK charity. She is currently an Independent Consultant and also develops and delivers training modules for an EU training provider. She has delivered a wide range of training nationally and internationally, presented at major conferences worldwide and currently her special interests are the identification and education of girls and women on the autism spectrum, Neurodiversity and Leadership.

Relationships as a powerful indicator of positive outcomes

Charlene Borg has been working with Inspire since 1998. She moved through different roles and responsibilities, and in 2011 she started leading the Family Relations Department. Charlene has a bachelor’s degree in Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and a Masters in Systemic Family Psychotherapy, working both with individuals and families. Her belief is that the relationships a person is surrounded by, is a powerful indicator of positive outcomes. Charlene has a special interest in couple relationships and her master’s dissertation was an in-depth study of the couple relationship of parents of an autistic child; the relationship between the disability, the couple dynamics and the life cycle of romantic love. For this event, Charlene will be joined by Mr & Mrs O’Dwyer, parents of two sons both of whom are on the spectrum.

Children who need extra support with social communication

Gina Gomez de la Cuesta founded Play Included C.I.C. in 2018. As one of the Directors, Gina has developed training and resources in the Brick-by-Brick TM programme, a learning through play-based concept involving collaborative LEGO® play for children who need extra support with social communication, such as children on the autism spectrum. As a clinical psychologist, Gina has specialised in autism and child and adolescent mental health and is dedicated to supporting young people’s wellbeing and development through play and positive relationships. She continues to work as a practitioner as well as being involved in academic research.

Jon Adams is both a contemporary Artist, working cross-platform, in image, poetry, sound, performance, and spoken word, a Neurodivergent advocate and researcher. He makes a variety of work in many differing media often referencing synaesthesia, autism, dyslexia, autobiography, science, and hidden metaphor resulting in unique visual perspectives of systemising history, time and place.

Education of autistic children and young people

Dr Ruth Moyse is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, and a Director & Associate at AT-Autism. She is a qualified teacher and completed her doctoral studies at the Institute of Education, University of Reading, where her work was funded by the John and Lorna Wing Foundation. Her research interest lies in the education of autistic children and young people, particularly the female experience. Ruth is an advocate for participatory research and the co-production of knowledge and chooses creative methods of engagement that centre autistic young people and their views. 

Book your ticket to ‘Connections’ and Autism now. Tickets are available for both on-site and remote attendance.