I am thrilled to be a part of Autism Spain’s country-wide conference on “The education of students with ASD during the covid-19 pandemic. Analysis, challenges and proposals for the future”. I will be speaking on my subject-matter-expertise: Autism & The Pandemic- Utilizing Universal Design skills to advance online and face-to-face teaching for Autistic students and all students in higher education. Thank you to Maria Verde Cagiao and the team for an excellent conference so far. I look forward to speaking on December 3rd, 2020. http://www.autismo.org.es/actualidad
I am humbled and honoured to be nominated for the 2021 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) awards at the University of Calgary. The award recognize and celebrate inspiring students, faculty, and staff who are working to advance a more accessible, equitable, diverse, and inclusive university. The EDI Awards recognize outstanding achievement in a practice, event, applied research, policy, program, or other activities that foster equitable, sustainable and measurable change for those who traditionally have been under-represented (women, visible/racialized minorities, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ2S) on campus. The Awards recognize ongoing work, or an outstanding accomplishment at a point in time. Deep gratitude goes out to my supervisors Dr. Shelleyann Scott and Dr. Don Scott for being fierce allies who worked hard to recognize and remove disabling barriers so I might have the opportunity to rise.
Thank you CUNY and Project REACH for the opportunity to share our work on autism and UD Training for faculty based on our research (www.autismresearch.international). It was an excellent group of faculty members, community members, and interested allies. Thank you for the brilliant questions. We look forward to your feedback and to learning how you’re using UD in your teaching & learning practice moving forward.
My formal educational journey at the University of Calgary was completed on November 12th, 2020 when I passed my final defence for the doctorate of education in leadership, policy, and governance in a post-secondary context. The purpose of my research was to explore how Canadian higher education leaders, faculty members, and professional staff can enhance services and outcomes for Autistic students. The study was situated within the pragmatic paradigm and employed a multilevel, sequential, mixed method design. The mixed methods approach included a total of 111 responses, namely, online questionnaires (n=74) and synchronous or asynchronous, semi-structured interviews (n=37). The sample included a total of 79 participants across four stakeholder groups: university middle level leaders (n=23), faculty members (including two who were themselves Autistic, n=16), professional staff members working with Autistic students in offices such as accessibility services, equity and inclusion services, human rights, or student advocacy (n=10), and Autistic students or individuals who had experienced university studies (n=30).
I am grateful to my talented supervisors Dr. Shelleyann Scott & Dr. Don Scott and to my family for the support, love, and wisdom that buoyed me throughout the journey. As a doctor, I continue my research journey working with Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch and our 16 cross-institutional collaborators studying autism & UD Training for faculty (www.autismresearch.international). As a speaker and subject-matter-expert, I continue to provide insights into policies and practices at higher education institutions that affect Autistic students and I continue to provide Universal Design training for faculty members of colleges and universities around the world.
The newly appointed Autistic Researchers Committee (ARC) of INSAR held a workshop in August 2020 to briefly introduce our committee and gather suggestions from the community regarding our future directions and plans as we strive to promote autistic involvement in research and the inclusiveness of INSAR. We welcomed all interested attendees, whether they were researchers or community members and whether they were neurodivergent or neurotypical.
The live workshop was held twice, to encourage participation across time zones. Please click on the link to watch: https://www.autism-insar.org/page/ARCvirtual.
I am honoured to serve on the panel at the College Autism Summit on Oct 28th, 2020 discussing the experiences of life on the spectrum on a college campus. As part of the College Autism Network Virtual Association of Scholars (CANVAS), this summit brings together scholars, practitioners, administrators, employers, self-advocates and their family members to discuss evidence-driven strategies that help support college students with autism and related learning differences. Transition to college, experience while in college, and transition to employment and independent living are all areas of focus. https://www.naspa.org/events/college-autism-summit
It was a privilege to be invited to speak to a Towson university class on the intersection of race and autism. The class of bright, fierce students were kind, open, and showed a strong spirit of inquiry with their exceptional questions. I wish them all the best of luck with their future endevours.
A special thank you to instructor Dena Gassner for the thought provoking questions, great insights, and for modeling what vulnerability looks like as a strength.
I am honoured to be a decision-making partner serving on the grant review board of the AIR-P along with other noted Autistic leaders in their respective fields. Formerly under the Autism Speaks umbrella, AIR-P is now under the leadership of Dr. Alice Kuo of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and partners at Kaiser Permanente, the AJ Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Research will focus on Health Services, Primary Care/Prevention, Well-Being, Neurology, Genetics, Sexual Health, and Health Care Transitions.
With a $15 million investment by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (US), AIR-P is “addressing the physical health of autistic individuals across the lifespan [to ensure] they are on a trajectory for a healthy and fulfilling life,” says Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, Principal Investigator of AIR-P and Chief of Internal Medicine-Pediatrics at UCLA.
Fifteen Coordinating Research Entities (CREs) have already signed on to the AIR-P network, with more to follow. These fifteen include the following AUCD network members: Center for Human Development (Alaska), Sonoran UCEDD (Arizona), JFK Partners (Colorado), Rose F. Kennedy Center (New York), Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (Indiana), Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities (Kansas), Kennedy Krieger Institute (Maryland), Mailman Center for Child Development (Florida), Institute on Community Integration (Minnesota), The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities (New Jersey), Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities (Tennessee), UC Davis MIND Institute (California), Institute on Disability and Human Development (Illinois), Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (North Carolina) and Center on Human Development and Disability (Washington).
For more information about the new AIR-P network at UCLA, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am honoured to be working on the advisory board of the Sinneave Family Foundation designing the online version of Autism Campus Prep program for Autistic individuals planning on attending post-secondary programs after high school. This program has been offered in several universities across Alberta in its previous iteration and now we are designing this to be accessible for all Autistic individuals across Canada and beyond.
We hope to have the design complete by the end of 2020 and ready to be launched soon after. Please check the Sinneave Family Foundation website for the new online program, a new name, and a new look. https://sinneavefoundation.org/
(Re)Imagining Leadership and Supports to Promote Enhanced Outcomes for Autism Spectrum Students in Universities: Exploring the Perspectives of Canadian Leaders, Accessibility Services Personnel, Teaching Faculty, and Autistic Students Authors: TC Waisman, Shelleyann Scott, Donald E. Scott
Our article was just published this month (August 2020) in Antistasis and can be viewed here: https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/antistasis/index