The first Autism Ideas Café event of 2021 welcomed new faces and led to some lively on-line discussions. Each event held so far has been unique, with a different mix of attendees made up of academics, professionals, students, members of the autistic community and their allies. What makes each event special is the views, knowledge and experience that each attendee brings, as well as the diversity of topics of discussion. The January session included musings on the need for researchers to communicate their research findings so that they are relevant, easily accessible, and relatable to real life situations, as well as discussions around a number of autism related issues.
How can employers be more inclusive? How can their awareness of autism be raised? The importance of making workplace adjustments. Understanding what employers can gain from having a neuro-diverse workforce. How can research be used to support the increased employment of autistic individuals?
How can adults on the spectrum get a diagnosis? Should they pursue one? What difference does it make?
Do the diagnosis rates in boys and girls actually reflect the incidence of autism? Are girls on the spectrum treated differently? Do they get diagnosed with other issues instead?
The experience of girls and women on the spectrum:
How do autistic women cope with the hormonal and physical changes of puberty and menopause? Are girls more likely to mask their autism? Does this manifest in mental health issues such as depression or eating disorders? Are girls as likely as boys to have a “special” interest? Are these seen as hobbies?
Autism and parenting:
Being an autistic parent. How does late diagnosis of parents affect children? If a parent gets an adult diagnosis does that affect the child? Do autistic parents parent differently? How can parents empower their autistic children? How can parents meet the sensory needs of their children?
Many of these themes will be explored in the March Autism Ideas Cafe event, which will be in the format of a research symposium, including presentations of their current research by PhD and Master's students from BGU. Details TBC.